Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 4, verses 8-9)
Have you ever been around someone whose focus was on things noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable? Instead of looking for the things in others or in life that are wrong, impure, ugly and despicable, they are not discouraged but believe, instead, that God has His hand on the world and people still and that He will bring glory to Himself through it all. This is not only an astounding attitude to have because of the peace it affords to one, it is an astounding attitude to have because it so contributes to peace among other people.
Paul knows, as we have seen, that anxiety does not lead to inner peace, nor peace within the Body of Christ (4:6). The anxious people among the Philippians, concerned as they were for Paul and the gospel, had managed to frighten many others into sending Paul money in hopes of rescuing the gospel. Paul commended their love but not their discernment. Their love needed to abound in knowledge and depth of insight (1:9-11).
Here, Paul is giving a guideline for how love’s knowledge and insight might abound. Think on the things that are worthy of praise. Think on the things that are excellent. Paul saw opportunity in his imprisonment because he thought this way and it resulted in those in Caesar’s household hearing the gospel. Paul saw benefit in being humbled because it was a way of knowing Jesus in his suffering and being conformed to his death as a prelude to resurrection (2:5-11; 3:10,11).
So Paul again becomes the example of this positive mindset that he can point the Philippians to and command them to follow. And the promise is the presence in their lives of the God of peace. The God of peace will bring both an inner strength to the individual that Paul embodied, and will bring to the relationships one has a freedom from conflict. I will not be focused on pursuing my own agenda because of fear, anxiety and negative anticipation. I will be able to see God at work in all situations, and I will see my unity with you and all other believers as paramount to the progress of the gospel.