I just ran across something in which a Christian woman quotes Philippians 4:8. “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” She then goes on to explain that this verse means that she can spend her money, energy, and thoughts on decorating her home and buying beautiful things. (n.b. I don’t know this person and am not making a judgment about her. I so often think the exact same way myself. In fact, I can say with utmost certainty that I am much worse than she is. I am just using this because it is such a clear example of ways that we justify our lives of comfort and self-gratification.) But, back to Philippians 4. This verse comes after Paul has said that to live is Christ. Only Christ. That he counts everything else as trash next to Christ. What he is saying in the 4th chapter is that we are to think about Christ. The true is Christ. The excellence is Christ. The commendable is Christ. The lovely is Christ. The thing worthy of praise is Christ. What we are to think about, to set our minds and eyes on, is Christ (Hebrews 12:20).
Philippians 4 is not scripture’s warrant for us to surround ourselves with pretty trinkets and well-decorated homes and stylish wardrobes and expensive hair (think about how much we spend on hair cuts and products ladies, seriously! Babies are dying because they don’t have food and I spend $30 on some little thing from Aveda to give my ugly hair some volume! Not ok, Laurie! No more!). Philippians 4 is not saying that our mission as Christians is to surround ourselves with as much silk, cashmere, champagne, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, etc., etc., etc. as we can afford. I know, another rant that I probably shouldn’t have gone on, but ah!!!!!!!!!!! We can’t appropriate scripture to validate the possession of so many pretty things when the truly Beautiful One is standing before us calling for a piece of bread. Water. Clothes. Medicine. (Matthew 25:31 ff).