by Wayne Barber
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things" (Phil. 4:8).
"Dwell on these things." Literally, reflect or ruminate on them: ponder on them. The Greek word is logízomai, and it is in the present imperative: Always be pondering these things. How did they come to be? When I get on a 747 to take off from an airport, I am amazed at how that plane can fly. I catch myself sitting there thinking that we are never going to get off the ground. It is like a hotel taking off. But somehow it does, and it causes me to ponder as to what in the world makes this thing work.
When we see someone living the way God says to live, this should make us sit up and take notice. This lifestyle is the fruit of someone's life when that person is drinking from the right well. Jesus Christ is the only well from whom we must drink. When He is our life, (v. 1:21), and our attitude (v. 2:5), and our goal (v. 3:14), then He is the very source of all that we are and all that we do-the well from which we drink.
So much of what is called "Christianity" is coming from the wrong well: The well of sincerity, the well of great intentions, the well of tremendous effort, but really the well of ignorance.
"Finally brethren, whatever is true…" The Greek word is aletheâs, Composed of the privative "a," meaning "without" and leâtho which means "that which is hidden." That which is true contains nothing that is hidden which will cause it to self-destruct. You see, any well that proclaims truth, but is not the well of Christ, contains something hidden within it that will cause it to self-destruct.
In fact, anything that man comes up with and calls "truth" has something destructive in it. So many people think that Paul is saying, "Remember all that your Dad told you as you were growing up and think on these things." But that is not what Paul has in mind. He is saying that all that is praiseworthy comes from the Well that has nothing hidden in it that will cause it to destruct. That well is Christ and His Word.
In fact, "God is true," (John 3:33); "Jesus is the truth" (John 14:6); the Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of truth" (John 14:17), and "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). In the light of these verses, no one's life is worthy of being studied as an example until he is seeking God in His Word, and seeking to allow Christ's life to be lived through him.
"Whatever is honorable" uses the word semnós, which comes from the word sébomai, meaning "to worship." Our lifestyle should tell everyone that we are under the Lordship of Christ. It is that which is decent and is attractive to others. Without drinking from the well of Christ there will be no lifestyle that attracts others to Him.
"Whatever is right" uses the word díkaios, which is that which conforms to righteousness, or good works which God requires. We know from Romans that the good works that God requires do not come from our good intentions; they come from faith, which comes from hearing which comes from the Word of God, His well of Truth. When we are unwilling to allow God's Word to penetrate our lives, then whatever lifestyle we call good doesn't make the cut. "Whatever is pure" translates hagnós, meaning that which is free from defilement. It is that which is morally and inwardly pure.
"Whatever is lovely" translates a relationship word, prosphileâs. It comes from pros, "towards," and phílos, "friend." It is that conduct which is dear to someone. It is that conduct which is pleasing in its motive and actions towards others. "Whatever is of good repute" uses the word eúphemos, "excellent, worthy of telling others about." Then Paul says "if there is anything worthy of praise" to wrap up anything left out that speaks of a person's lifestyle. Then he says "ponder these things."
Oh, how we need to come back to the right well: To drink from that which has within itself nothing that would cause it to destruct. To live lives fired by the power of God and fueled by His Word. To live in such a way that others have to stop and reflect on our lifestyle. Then, if they look deep and hard, they will not see us, but Christ in us.