The final principle of the three that I think best helps to direct our conduct in doubtful areas is Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, 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.” According to this verse the Christian is to decide between doubtful things by choosing the best.This does not exclude the best things in our society, whether explicitly Christian or not. For the meat of the verse lies in the fact (not always noticed by Bible teachers) that the virtues mentioned here are pagan virtues. These words do not occur in the great lists of Christian virtues, lists that include love, joy, peace, patience, and so on. On the whole they are taken from Greek ethics and from the writings of the Greek philosophers. In using them Paul is actually sanctifying, as it were, the generally accepted virtues of pagan morality. He is saying that although the pursuit of the best things by Christians will necessarily mean the pursuit of fellowship with God, the will of God, all means to advance the claims of the gospel, and other spiritual things also, it will not mean the exclusion of the best values the world has to offer. The things that are acknowledged to be honorable by the best people everywhere are also worthy to be cultivated by Christians. Consequently, Christians can love all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, wherever they find it. They can rejoice in the best of art and good literature. They can thrill to great music. They can thrive on beautiful architecture. They should do it. You should do it. Christians can thank God for giving us the ability even in our fallen state to create such things of beauty.
Boice, J. M. (2000). Philippians : An expositional commentary (248). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.
As this quote references previous principles for decisionmaking, I am including them below in summary form:
The first principle, then, is that we are not under law; we are under grace. The text is Romans 6:14: “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” This verse teaches that whatever the answer may be to the problem of doubtful practices, it is not legalism. That is, the way will never be found by organizing any body of Christians to declare whether or not movies, cigarettes, alcohol, war, or whatever it may be, is proper.
The second principle for determining God’s will in doubtful matters is that although all things are lawful for the Christian—because he is not under law but under grace—all things are not expedient. That is true for two reasons: First, because the thing itself may gain a harmful control over him or have a harmful effect on him physically. Second, because through him it may hurt other Christians.