Paul finishes out his list of “virtues of the mind” with “if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things….” (Phil 4:8). Excellence is something we as Christians often put to the side. We figure that we are children of God, so anything we produce is going to be just fine without the same kind of hard work that “pagans” do. That is simply wrong. God has called us to excellence in our work, our art, our creations, our innovations, our contributions to society, our relationships, etc. And achieving that excellent requires just as much work and toil as anyone else – Christian or not. And it is through that excellence that we can point back to God and not ourselves, since we believe that He is the One who empowers us for such excellence by His grace.
To think about praiseworthy things is to think about anything that is “worthy of praise”, which pretty much means God. He is the One who deserves all the praise in the universe. So, in the words of Paul, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2).