by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Phil. 4:8).
Our thoughts become our conversations. And the topics of our conversations influence our actions.
It's therefore very important not only how we feed our stomachs but also how we fuel our minds. Junk foods have bad effects on the body. Trash for the mind corrupts our souls.
In this very remarkable verse of Scripture Paul picks the best of the present world and says, "Think about such things." Don't allow your choice of magazines, books, films, or companions to lower your standards. Go for the best. Strive for excellence in every field. Choose what is true, and reject what is fake. Think what is noble, and shun the inferior. Esteem what is right and pure, and call a spade a spade and sin a sin. Set your thoughts on whatever is lovely and admirable, and don't dwell on the ugly and despicable. Whatever by general agreement stands out in beauty and harmony, let that fill your mind, so that there is no room for the low-brow stuff that degrades human beings.
Many scholars are at a loss with how to interpret this verse in which Paul endorses moral and cultural excellence. To fully understand Paul's meaning, we need to look at the context—at the specific Christian tone that the apostle provides in the verses before and after this one.
Most pastors who have listened to the formal wedding vows of many couples and attended the happy feasts that follow will understand the need for Paul's words here. Anyone who can improve the tastes and choices of the Christian community renders a service to God.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version