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.
A few days ago, I woke up to find numerous herbs and all kinds of vegetables blooming in my box gardens. I was excited to see tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatillos at different stages of growth. The excitement was not dampened when I noticed weeds growing underneath the vegetables. I chose to focus on the juicy tomato plants, the green peppers and the tomatillo plants that I was growing for the first time. I was elated at what I experienced as God’s bountiful provision; the weeds, were no biggie. They were gone by noon. I dealt with them quickly and efficiently.
In the scripture above, Paul seems to be exhorting the Philippian Christians to focus on the right stuff. A lot was happening in their community and it would have been tempting for them to dwell on the “weeds” in their lives but Paul encourages them to focus on the important things. Things like: being steadfast in their walk, living in unity, imitating Christ’s humility, putting no confidence in the flesh, living lives free of anxiety among many other exhortations. Paul says, ‘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…. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Wouldn’t it be great if we could all focus on the right things today? Imagine what your life would be like if you chose to dwell on what is true, rather than what is divisive. Imagine the measure of peace you would experience if you focused on what is noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable? Sure, the "weeds" of life would still be there, but we know that Christ is coming back to take care of the "weeds" (Matthew 13: 24-30) and he will do so quickly and efficiently.
Do you want the God of peace to be with you? Then, pursue the path of peace; the path of peace is attained through practice and it is never too late to get on it. According to Paul, all you have to do is hear the word and put it into practice. It is that simple. If Paul’s counsel was sufficient for the Philippians, it is sufficient for you too.
God of wonder and God of peace, I desire to be in your presence always. Give me the strength each day to focus on those things that are excellent and praiseworthy. Teach me not to judge, for all judgment belongs to you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.