Philippians 4:8, 9
Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure…
Having insisted on the duties of prayer and thanksgiving and the reward which accompanies them, St. Paul proceeds to point out the need of meditation on all that is of God, and of practically living out the God-like life upon earth. To such also is attached a special reward.
I. THE NEED OF MEDITATION. This is. universal. All persons meditate on that which is to them of absorbing interest. By meditation the stock of our ideas is increased and a mental atmosphere is formed in which we live and move. Every great work and every great life has been produced by much meditation.
II. THE BEST SUBJECTS FOR MEDITATION. "Whatsover things are true," etc. We need not limit these to the subject-matter of the Christian revelation, although undoubtedly each of these forms of goodness will find its highest expression in that. But since all good things are of God, we may find him reflected in every act of virtue, in every prompting of love, in every aspiration after a higher life, in whatever way these may be manifested. The terms selected include all that is noble towards God, all that is purifying to ourselves, and all that commends itself to the better instincts of men. Meditating on such an exhaustive catalogue of high ideas, how can we become anything else than filled with all that is true and Divine?
III. TRUE MEDITATION WELL PRODUCE ACTION. If it does not do this it enervates the will and dissipates the motive forces of the character. A truth acted upon provides us with an unanswerable evidence that it is a truth. It becomes worked into our nature and forms part of ourselves.
IV. TRUE ACTION IS LEARNED FROM EXAMPLE RATHER THAN FROM PRECEPT. "That which ye have. . . seen in me, do." Action is in life and not in theory. Note how the same truth is to be found in the Beatitudes. They begin with a description of abstract blessedness, such as is to be found in poverty of spirit; they end by translating this idea of blessedness into a living reality in the ease of the disciples who were being taught. "Blessed are they" turns into "Blessed are ye," and their blessedness is to be found in such an active life of righteousness as is to involve persecution for Christ's sake.
V. THE REWARD OF TRUE ACTION PROCEEDING OUT OF PROFOUND MEDITATION. "The God of peace shall be with you." The peace of God is the reward of prayer and trustfulness; this is an inward gift bringing God into the soul. But true action secures the presence of the God of peace, externally defending and guiding, as well as internally teaching and blessing. - V.W.H.
Parallel VersesKJV: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
WEB: Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, 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 any praise, think about these things.