Six Essential Virtues for Life – Think About Jesus!
By Rob Fields
We are responsible for our thoughts and can hold them to high and holy ideals. – A.T. Robertson
What are you thinking about? What do you begin to ponder at the start of the day? It maybe all the things I need to do such as the upcoming meetings or projects for work. Our thoughts may take us the pathway of our children. Getting their breakfast, dressed, and out the door to the bus. Of course, who will pick our daughter up from school and take her to dance practice. Our thoughts go other directions as we start the work day and hear the latest stories and changes to the company. We settle in for the evening and catch the latest news which takes our thoughts into questioning the direction of the country. So much of the day’s events will dictate and dominate our thought life whether profitable or detrimental to us.
Paul concludes the six essential virtues for life with this final challenge – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
The word “excellent” ἀρετή (aretē) means that which is virtuous, outstanding, or the highest level of goodness. Peter states in his letters that God has given all we need for life and godliness. God is full of glory and goodness ἀρετή (aretē). To discover whatever is outstanding or of excellent virtue, we find in God alone. God has passed His excellent virtues upon those who are called by Him (2 Pe 1:3). The Apostles saw it necessary to build upon our faith such virtues that we find in God Himself (2 Peter 1:5). God is excellent and praiseworthy, think about Him!
In the song by Bethel Music called “Goodness of God” we are reminded of God’s goodness.
And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
The throne of God is surrounded by glory and ἔπαινος (epainos) PRAISE. Whatever we find of excellent virtue we find in God alone. Think about His very Being, the Great I Am and very essence. Think about His PRAISE as sitting in the throne room. This is not a type of praise of earthly setting BUT of a heavenly level surrounded in the majestic presence of God Himself. I am the Alpha and Omega, I am Excellent and Praiseworthy!
While Jesus was in Capernaum, some brought a disabled man to Jesus by lowering him through the roof due to the crowds. Jesus said to the man, “take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Several religious leaders who were there heard this and said to themselves that Jesus is blaspheming! Jesus responded to them with this question, “why do you entertain evil thoughts in your heart?” What a powerful question to ask of ourselves when our thought life begins to go off the tracks – why am I entertaining these evil thoughts. Paul shares with the friends at Corinth about “taking every thought captive” and making it obedient to Christ. How do our thoughts match up to Scripture? When we entertain thoughts that are not true we are in jeopardy of falling into terrible acts of sin.
It is not a question of the opportunities of learning, but of the determination to be continually renewed in the spirit of our mind. – Oswald Chambers
We are to ponder and think about whatever is excellent and praiseworthy. This verb is in the present tense which shows the kind of action being continual, going on, repeated, or the state of incomplete. This is a matter that continues to be worked out into action. The manner of this verb or mood is imperative. The hearer is being charged to carry this out. It is a command and not a suggestion to think about what has been shared.
Paul commands the Philippians “to deliberate,” “to evaluate,” “to compute over and over” what is good and pure. In this way, Christians can renew their minds so that they will not conform to the evil habits of this world (Rom. 12:2).1
Six Mind Exercises to godly thinking.
- Exercise Your Mind on True Things – A mind that focuses on things which are opposite of dishonest and unreliable. Jesus is the very essence, embodiment, and example of truth.
- Exercise Your Mind on Noble Things – Thoughts that refers to what is not dignified and worthy or respect.
- Exercise Your Mind on Right Things – Thoughts that are conformed to God’s standard.
- Exercise Your Mind on Pure Things – Thoughts that are wholesome and mixed with moral impurity.
- Exercise Your Mind of Lovely Things – Mentally dwell on what promotes peace rather than conflict.
- Exercise Your Mind on Admirable Things – Focusing the thought life on what is positive and constructive rather than negative and destructive.
Finally, we can find all these virtues manifested and personified in Jesus Himself.
Jesus is True,
Jesus is Noble,
Jesus is Right,
Jesus is Pure,
Jesus is Lovely,
Jesus is Admirable,
If there is ANYONE Praiseworthy or Admirable – It is Jesus Christ!
1 Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1556). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.