English Standard Version (ESV)
8 Finally, brothers, 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.
In Bible Study this past weekend a member of my group brought up that they had been struggling with dwelling on thoughts that were not joyful or good. Most of them dwelt on the evil in the world today. Much of the inspiration of these thoughts came from news sources which brings me to the body of this post.
I have been on a fast from the news media for the past several months. God laid it on my heart for the reason of focusing in on my church during a time of leadership change. Surprisingly to me I have seen that my thought life has improved substantially since cutting this out. I have realized that I too struggle with the same thing as my friend struggles with; I have an over-active imagination. You see, I have the ability to hear about a story and immediately place myself in that situation as a first person attendee. From there I often will let my imagination run wild and go down paths that are always evil. Uncontrolled thoughts always lead to evil thoughts. I know, that is a very strong statement but I believe it is true.
In Philippines 4:8, Paul writes about controlling your thoughts. Much of the Christian life is about self control under the power of the Holy Spirit or in other words to have self-discipline. The Apostle Paul spoke to us about dwelling on only good things, not evil things. Have you seen the news lately? If you have, I bet even today you have seen at least 50 % of the stories revolve around some crime or injustice. My question to you is “Why do you let those thoughts and stories occupy your mind?” Another question is why do we need to know about people committing crimes against each other? I could understand news about policies affecting us, new discoveries, changes in weather, etc. but why on earth do we need to constantly hear about the latest affair, murder or robbery?
It is time to change, it is time to take control of our thought lives. Stop filling your mind with junk, and start filling it with Jesus centered concerns. It would be better to dwell on the hope that we could have a God encounter with someone who needs to know Jesus today, rather than dwell on the “why” and “how come this happened”. We all know why evil is happening (at least those that believe the Bible is true). It makes no sense and wastes precious time to dwell on these things. We must concentrate our efforts on loving those around us with God’s love, reaching the lost for Christ, and living our lives as “salt” in this evil, fallen world. My friends, start asking, “Why am I allowing this to permeate my mind?” with things that you can control. It may be time to shut off the feed of bad news for awhile, if not forever.