As we practice Philippians 4:8 we are taking time to enumerate and examine things that are more healthy, illuminating and edifying to think about. In the United Bible Societies’ A Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, it is pointed out that “things refers not to particular concrete objects but primarily to actions and events.” For example, when thinking about things that are lovely, we should not limit our thoughts to a list of objects but let our minds examine aspects of the objects that inspire us to think of them as lovely.
One of the categories of things our scripture verse gives is “things of good report.” What conduct or action is good and noteworthy? What is descent, wholesome, and commonly expected right behavior. I want to differentiate between “of good report” and “Praiseworthy.” We will look at “things that are praiseworthy” another day. So, what about good behavior? If you were to define a person as “of good report,” what would you include in your definition? If you were to explain why you think a thing is good and worthy of attention, what about it causes you to conclude that?
Let’s begin with things that might quickly come to mind. A person of good report would be kind, generous, well-mannered, hard-working, patient, happy, talented, gracious, positive, and helpful. A thing that is noteworthy and good would be one that is useful, enjoyable, productive, lovely, necessary, desirable, and adds to our well-being. With these descriptions in mind, can you think about things that are of good report?
Imagine the difference in our minds and hearts when we find these things to contemplate rather than people and things that are despicable, tasteless, and depressing. We must allow ourselves the pleasure of thinking about things that are good. Bring to your mind the faces of those who are of good report and give thanks to God for them. Bring to your mind things in your life that are wholesome and wonderful and give thanks to God for them. If we can push our minds in the direction of discovery, our minds will begin to identify more and more noteworthy things throughout the day.
Take this to heart. “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25)