PASSAGE: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
QUESTION: When I fix my mind on this verse, I can image lovely creations in my art and craft works that are worthy of praise. My desire is to bring pleasure, art and beauty to others that would be long lasting.
COMMENT: I think of this beautiful passage as one of Paul’s clearest and most powerful descriptions of how one is to live in Christ awareness. In a way, it’s a logical extension of Job’s realization in the Hebrew Scriptures that “that which I greatly fear has come upon me.” In both passages the underlying truth is that we contain, as the Christ of our being, the creative power of God. That power will express in our lives according to how we direct it with our thoughts and beliefs.
We can easily get caught up in our fears—the challenges, dramas and apparent threats that seem to fill our mortal lives—and fail to realize or remember that by keeping our focus on those negative energies we are bringing them into greater and greater expression in our lives. Paul’s final, lovingly urgent directive to the Philippians is to do just the opposite. By recognizing and thinking about the positive, the lovely, the excellent, the praiseworthy energies in our lives—and they are always there, if we are willing to look—we claim them and increase them, both in our own lives and as our personal contribution to collective consciousness.