Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think on these things. — Philippians 4:8.
We’ve been looking at some “whatever” verses in scripture, and now our focus turns to Philippians 4:8. The Apostle Paul says, “if anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think on these things.” When Paul uses the word “think” in Philippians, it means to “reason to a logical conclusion.” Therefore, when we “think” about, or “dwell on” something in this sense, it means that we are to reach a logical conclusion concerning those excellent things. We consider whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy.
We are told to think upon that which is true. The word Paul uses means “something that cannot be concealed or hidden.” If we look at Scripture, we find many truths. The more we look at scripture — the more we become familiar with God’s Word — the easier it is to come to the truth.
Spotting the Counterfeit
We are able to spot that which is true and that which is fake. A friend of mine described a bank teller who was counting money. The teller quickly sorted through the money, when all of a sudden she dropped the bills on the counter and pulled out a counterfeit bill. She knew instantly that the bill was counterfeit simply by feeling it for just a fraction of a second! She didn’t need to hold it up to a light to tell that it was a fake, nor did she need to take out a special pen to mark the bill to determine its authenticity.
The point my friend made was this: The teller was so familiar with the real money that she could spot a fake instantly. I’ve been told that those who can spot counterfeits can do so because they have a profound familiarity with the real currency.
When we are exposed to falsehoods in this world, we can best spot them if we have a familiarity with what is true. When we are familiar with God’s Word, we’re able to spot the counterfeit, the fake, much more easily.
This is what happens when we think on “whatever is true.”
The Truth Will Set You Free?
Jesus said in John 8:32 that “the truth will set you free.” Many who are not familiar with scripture has heard this quote before. Many people will quote “the truth will set you free,” but they leave out what Jesus said right before that.
Here is the context in John 8:31: So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Note that Jesus said if “you are truly my disciples . . .” Jesus is using the same word that Paul uses when he admonishes us to think on whatever is true. We are truly Jesus’ disciples if we abide in His Word!
So we must abide in His Word in order to know the truth. The presence of truth in and of itself does not set us free. Abiding in the Word, thinking on whatever is true — as a way of life — is what leads us to freedom.
The first Psalm speaks of the man of God who “whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” He ponders, meditates, all the time, on God’s Law. I don’t believe that this psalm is mandating that we have a specific time of devotion and meditation in the morning and then one again in the evening. That would be a great discipline, but I believe that what the psalmist is saying is that the man of God whose delight is in the Law of Lord thinks about God’s Word on a regular basis. He heeds the words of the Apostle Paul: “if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things.”
Today’s Takeaway: As Christians who study God’s Word, we are able to spot falsehoods. In the marketplace, this becomes particularly important, as it helps us to discern what direction we should take in the workplace, the kinds of transactions we should make or avoid, whether or not we should hire a particular person, or what kind of company we should align ourselves with concerning our jobs or careers. Become intimately familiar with God’s Word, thinking on that which is true. Avoid the counterfeits, knowing that if you abide in God’s Word, you will be free!