3) Whatever is right
There is right and wrong. Right is correct. Wrong is incorrect. Love, true love, which derives from love Himself, is right. Hate is wrong. Right stems from truth and grace. Wrong stems from the lie, enmity, and ruthlessness. Right is to forgive others so that we may be forgiven. Wrong is to resent, begrudge, and refuse to forgive. Right is the exclusivity of Christ. Wrong is the “inclusivity” of religious pluralism. Right comes from God the Father. Wrong comes from the father of lies.
4) Whatever is pure
“Pure” is that which is “free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes: containing nothing that does not properly belong.” Chastity is pure. Fornication is impure. Fidelity to one’s spouse and the faithful marriage bed is pure. Adultery is impure. True marriage is pure. Counterfeit same-sex “marriage” is “vitiated, weakened, and polluted” by sexual immorality and is, therefore, impure. Contentment is pure. Covetousness is impure. Selflessness, when harmonized with and motivated by God’s moral truths, is pure. Selfishness is impure. Jesus is pure. We are impure. True Christianity is pure. Apostate “Christianity” and other false religions that deny Christ and the truth of His word are impure.
5) Whatever is lovely
“Lovely” is defined as “attractive or beautiful, especially in a graceful way.” Outward beauty can be lovely. Inward beauty that derives from the Holy Spirit is always lovely. The creative arts are lovely, especially when motivated by a desire to serve, honor, and glorify the Creator. Handle’s Messiah is lovely. The Sistine Chapel is lovely. God’s nature, creation, and created order is lovely. My beautiful wife and daughters are lovely, inside and out.
6) Whatever is admirable
That which is “admirable” is “worthy of admiration; inspiring approval, reverence, or affection.” The whole of God’s creation, save those aspects corrupted by sin, is admirable. Our Creator God is beyond admirable and worthy of infinite wonder, praise, and worship. Unfortunately, in our sinful nature, we often admire things that fall well short of admirable. We “think about” things anathema to those eight given us by Paul.
7) Whatever is excellent
Excellence means “of extremely high quality.” We are told to not only think about that which is excellent, but to strive for excellence in all we do. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. …” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) We also know excellence when we see it. Michael Jordan was excellent. Legendary jazz drummer Buddy Rich was excellent. The rib-eye at Ruth’s Chris is excellent. President Obama’s leadership and policies – economic, social, and national security-related, both foreign and domestic – are decidedly not excellent.
8) Whatever is praiseworthy
Finally, Webster’s defines “praiseworthy” as “laudable: deserving praise: worthy of praise.” The previous seven things Paul gives us to “think about” are also praiseworthy. They are laudable. That which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and excellent, is also praiseworthy.
Do you see what Paul did here – what the Holy Spirit did through Paul? He gave us eight things to “think about.” Does anything in particular strike you about these eight things?
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