We Must Take Care What We Put in Our Minds for They Drive Our Attitudes and Actions
We talked about why we need to be careful with what we say. Then we shared some biblical tips to guard our thoughts, since what we think about often flows out of our mouth. Let’s consider some thoughts we should avoid.
Paul writes to the Philippian church, sharing with them eight things to give their attention to. They are to focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). So much of our present society doesn’t align with this.
Considering the opposite of Paul’s list, we can look at our world today to determine areas where we might want to control or at least limit our exposure to. Here are some things to contemplate that encourages to dwell on thoughts we should avoid:
I stopped listening to the news on June 15, 2020. Every broadcast specialized in negativity and was only partially correct. Yes, each news story began with an element of truth, but the coverage soon diverged into biases and falsehoods, many of which confronted the Word of God.
It mattered not which station I listen to or watched: liberal or conservative. I found none that met any of Paul’s eight characteristics.
So that I’m not completely out of touch, however, I’ve settled on one weekly newspaper as my source of current events.
Though I lack knowledge of what’s happening in our world on a day-to-day, minute-by-minute basis, not subjecting myself to this negativity has lifted a huge weight off my soul. I now move about my day with a lightness instead of the darkness their news sources promote.
If the contents on all news broadcasts are negative and misaligned with Scripture, most posts on social media are an even worse source that promote spots we should avoid. Though I have a presence on several social media platforms, I checked them infrequently.
I’ve also disabled all notifications. I check one platform once a day for a few minutes as I wrap up my work. For the others I stop by once-a-week. That’s enough.
I’ve often wondered about shutting them all down and walking away. So far, I haven’t. My once-a-day and once-a-week plan works for me.
I’ve also weaned myself away from most music. Mostly, the styles I like contain lyrics I don’t appreciate.
I’m also prone to earworms, that is, “stuck song syndrome.” I’m okay if it happens to be something I heard at church on Sunday. But I’m frustrated if it’s from a commercial or other secular source.
So much of the content in movies and TV shows directly opposes a biblical worldview.
With most people shoving several hours of visual entertainment into their minds each day compared with a few minutes of Bible study, at best, there’s little doubt about which perspective will win out.
If we continually see people doing things contrary to God’s will, we can easily begin to regard their behavior as acceptable and then to embrace it.
Just as movies and TV shows can pump ungodly content into our minds, so can the written word. Some books are positive and uplifting. Most aren’t. The key is to select with care the books we read and skip the rest.
Other areas we might want to limit our exposure to is relationships that are toxic, close friendships with people living immoral lives, and affinity with groups whose purpose misaligns with God’s. We should also be careful with where we go and how we spend our money.
I’m sure there are other things we could add.
We can think of these items as guardrails that help keep us on track with Jesus.
These are sources that promote thoughts we should avoid.
In reviewing these items, we could conclude that we must remove ourselves from the world. Though various people have tried to do so in the past 2,000 years, their well-intended goal is off base.
Yet Jesus also told us to go into the world and tell others about him (Matthew 28:18-20). How can we do this if we isolate ourselves from them? We can’t.
Therefore, as followers of Jesus, we must exercise care to the degree we immerse ourselves into our world. We must remain close enough to make a difference, well far enough away to not be pulled from our faith.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.