Whatsoever Things

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Philippians 4:8 NASB

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

Many years ago, when I was in the Canadian military, I used to keep a Bible on my desk and when opportunities presented themselves, I would read God’s Word. I remember one day when a fellow soldier said to me that I was programming myself. And I agreed. I asked him what he programmed himself with.

Whether we realise it or not, what we put before ourselves affects us, and depending on what we feed on visually, or via words, has an impact on our mental and spiritual perception. For a while, a month or so ago, I allowed myself to get emotionally drawn into the political scene. Not that this is necessarily bad, in and of itself, but when our focus becomes centered on one specific area, other things or areas have a tendency to get out of balance.

All of us have some kind of baggage or at least the vast majority of us. I was adopted, subjected to a fair amount of verbal and physical abuse as a young child and adolescent and if I chose to, I could remind myself of what I was subjected to and how it affected me. We may even think that in spite of what we have been subjected to, that it hasn’t affected us. But I am thinking that this is probably wrong because whether we realise it or not, it does affect us.

Sometimes I need to remind myself of just how susceptible my mind can be influenced by external sources. Sometimes I need to just stop and think and re-adjust accordingly. I did that with the political scene and the emotional consequences dissipated.

Obviously I am not a psychologist but practical experience sooner or later has to produce a realization that something is either good for you or not good for you. Spending time in God’s Word is really a must for a Christian. It literally is spiritual food and we fool ourselves if we think otherwise. I’m reading and studying a book right now on Old Age Creationism that I have a strong interest in but I have learned that I must ration or allocate my time wisely if I wish to stay in tune with God. If I stop spending time in God’s Word, that separation has a cost. I don’t like that cost, it doesn’t keep me close to God. Time spent in prayer is another absolute necessity.

I see people who get stuck in the past with their baggage all of the time. Bitterness, resentment, anger and hostility towards others is the fruit of that endeavour. Staying there will destroy you. I know we can’t forget but we can learn to refocus. God’s Word tells me that I am a new creature, that my mind and heart can and will change and I do need to work with God in achieving that.

No, it doesn’t mean that we end up sticking our heads in the sand but it does mean that the course settings for our day is stacked towards building us up in faith and trust in God versus bringing or tearing us down. And, I find, in all honesty, even when I do this, some days are better than others. Sometimes I just need to double down on the positives that build me up until those things that bring me down have passed. And there are an awful lot of negatives available. What we read, what we look at and what we listen to are all abundantly available to our senses and their overall effect can and do build up over time, either positively or negatively and it does affect how we feel and think and react.

The logic to follow is relatively easy to understand. If I have a weakness for food and I have decided to go on a diet, it probably isn’t prudent to sit in front of an open fridge all of the time. This logic can be applied to any number of areas that we have weaknesses in. This isn’t rocket science.

My previous post was about the witness of an individual who lost his daughter in a car accident. Yet God met Him, in his own time and brought him back to Himself again. We all need to see that happening from time to time. We need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness and how our shortfalls can and are forgiven.

It grieves me when I see other brothers and sisters in Christ stuck in the past. It grieves me when I see resentment and anger dominate a person’s personality. It doesn’t need to be this way. In today’s society there is so much negativity that bombards us from without, we surely don’t need to add to this bombardment with negativity from within.

Taking our eyes off of ourselves and looking at what some of our brothers and sisters have to deal with, through no fault of their own, helps keep things in perspective. The body of Christ needs to look at things collectively, not just focusing inwardly, at the negatives, within ourselves.

If I try to balance all things, which I do, and I still have a difficult time from time to time, which I do, then how in the world will those who do not learn to balance all things, ever make it through, what is to come.

I’m just speaking from the heart and hoping that it helps someone.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

17 comments

  1. Amen, brother! Sometimes we make simple things in life complicated. Good luck on the diet too…and if you hear the fridge make a funny sound today, it’s not a cry for help! 🙂

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  2. So true, Bruce, especially: “Sometimes I need to remind myself of just how susceptible my mind can be influenced by external sources.”

    We all are susceptible. I think Christians need to be cautious of becoming too involved in the culture — entertainment, sports, etc. I am amazed by how many Christians watch R-rated material. Such behavior will certainly pull us away from God.

    Again, great piece, Bruce.

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  3. I pray every day for my mind to be filled with what is true, just, etc. In fact, I used to have that verse printed out and stuck to my TV as a reminder. Not just my memories but also my entertainment choices need to be run through God’s filter. 😉

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  4. Good one Bruce…love the food picture too much.
    Philippians 4:8 is a verse I meditate on often. SO many rough things have happened in our family down through the years and I find that scripture reading, study and meditating on these things (every day) balances out perspectives in my daily life (as well as getting into the wilderness and on the lakes).

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  5. Great word, Bruce. Focusing on the past leads to depression. At least it does for me. I also agree with you about getting caught up in political debates. Our focus needs to be the good news.

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    • Hi Bill, yes, I’ve been weaning myself off of whatever is not lifting me up as of late, just don’t have time for unnecessary negatives anymore. Time is too previous. Blessings Bill.

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