How should we filter life? Life bombards us every day. How should we process the multitude of thoughts, information, and influences that vie for our attention? We can’t accept everything. Rejecting all results in isolation and mistrust. In Philippians 4, God teaches one of the great life lessons in the Bible.
8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Whatever things! God is describing a filtering process. How do we decide what is useful and what to discard? In Isaiah 55, God explains the tension in the world and in our lives.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We are to filter life using the Bible to retain the things that align with God’s thoughts and ways while rejecting the world’s thoughts and ways.
Whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report…..
The second part begins with “if there be any”. This is another description for filtering. It doesn’t say “if there be only” or “if there a majority”, but it says if there be any. God doesn’t expect us to only accept something that is 100% Godly, or 51% Godly, or 10% Godly. He says any. If there is only .1% Godly then it’s enough.
If there is only .1% containing virtue or praise, then think on these things.
My family likes to go gem mining when we visit the mountains. This activity involves filling a bucket with dirt from the gem mine. Next, sit on a bench beside a trough with running water. Then scoop some dirt into a wood frame with a screen bottom. After submerging the frame in the water, then the water begins to wash away the dirt. The gems are larger than the screen. Therefore, after 90 minutes all of the dirt is washed away and a couple of tablespoons of gems remain from the gallon-plus size bucket.
This verse reminds me of gem mining because it takes time and effort to find the hidden gems in the bucket of dirt. God instructs us to search for the honest, pure, just, lovely, and the good report. If they have any virtue and praise, then spend some time considering God’s thoughts and ways.