Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.” To meditate on these things is to make them the subject of thoughtful consideration – to carefully reflect upon them. So what are you to meditate upon?
Meditate on things that are true. Jesus prayed to his Father in John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” God’s word is truth. The psalmist wrote about the righteous man in Psalms 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Think about the truths of the Bible and other things that are true. Or, you could meditate on falsehoods, fantasy, and fiction. What are you going to choose?
Meditate on things that are noble. In other words, think about things that are honorable – things that meet a high standard of action or good behavior. There are many things that are true but are garbage and tear you down. Things that are noble would be at the other end of the spectrum and have good, quality attributes – things such as love, self-sacrifice, and righteousness. Set your mind on these kinds of things.
Meditate on things that are just. Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Justice has to do with things that are right, fair and appropriate. What are the right actions to be taken? There are many injustices in the world; if you meditate on them, you will be troubled, angry, or depressed. Think about things that are just and right.
Meditate on things that are pure. These would be things that are free from defilement or contamination – free from immoral behavior or qualities. Things that are impure may be partly good and partly bad – partly right and partly wrong. Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Think about things that are completely good, genuine and right.
Meditate on things that are lovely. These would be things that are pleasing and agreeable. There is so much bad news and evilness in the world that can tear you down and depress you. Think about good news, righteousness and virtue.
Meditate on things of good report. These would be things that are well spoken of among men and bring a good name. They would be things that are uplifting and edifying and fill you with joy and happiness.
Meditate on things of virtue. Virtue is moral goodness that you should seek to add to your faith. 2 Peter 1:5-7 “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” The world is filled with immoral thoughts and actions such as sexual perversion, greed, violence and vengeance. Instead of thinking about those kind of things, think about the good, moral qualities that God wants you to exhibit in your life.
Meditate on things that are praiseworthy. These are actions or deeds that even people in the world would say are extraordinary and worthy of praise and honor. For example, if someone is in need and you go out of your way to help them and relieve their suffering or loss – that is praiseworthy.
Now look at the greater context of what the Apostle Paul is teaching. Philippians 4:6-9 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” The Apostle Paul is teaching you to not be anxious but make your requests to God and be thankful. Then God will give you peace and guard your heart and mind. But you have an obligation to make sure you choose to meditate about the things that are good (true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue and praiseworthy) and not the bad. When you do these things, the God of peace will be with you.
I encourage you to control what you think and meditate about. 2 Corinthians 10:5b “Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”