A Personal Devotional Journal

I invite you to journey with me. Sometimes we will look at short passages of Scripture and I will give my first thoughts and impressions. Other times, I will just share my thinking about spiritual issues. Always, you are welcome to comment and add your thoughts. Together, we could learn something.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Philippians 4:8 The Good Stuff

The connecting link between what we believe in our hearts and how we live in everyday life is what we think with our minds. There is a phrase among the computer geek crowd. GIGO. It means garbage in, garbage out. You see, a computer only does what it is told to do. If the programming isn’t right, the computer doesn’t run right. If the programming is garbage, the computer is garbage. A computer is only as good as its programming. Garbage in, garbage out.

Our brains are similar to a computer in this sense. Our thinking is determined by the quality of input. If we put in bad stuff –if we put in hatred, unbelief, jealousy, lust, greed, selfishness, hopelessness, discontentment –then, obviously the output is going to be garbage. Many times we as Christians see negative stuff in our lives –we see garbage output, and we immediately blame the devil, the world, the flesh, the people we work with, the people we live with –we are full of excuses about why there is garbage output in our lives. But the bottom line is that many times the garbage output is directly linked to garbage input.

If we have been struggling with lust or greed or selfishness or anger or any other negative thinking –and especially if it has been leading to negative living, the first thing we need to do is ask, “What have I been putting into my mind?” What television shows have I been watching? What movies have I been watching? What music have I been listening to? What web sites have I been visiting? What books have I been reading? It would be both na├»ve and foolish to think that there is no connection between what goes into our brains and what comes out in our lives.

And, in fact, this is what Paul was talking about in his letter to the church at Philippi. 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.

Sometimes it seems we want to fill our minds with the good stuff, but find ourselves unable to concentrate on all this good stuff –we find that when we try to add this good stuff into our lives and into our thinking, it just doesn’t seem to fit. If we want the good stuff in our lives, we must make it a priority and put it in first. If we fill our minds with the trivial stuff and the unimportant and the useless and harmful stuff first, and then try to add some of the good stuff in as an afterthought, it just doesn’t fit -there isn’t room for what matters most.

Fill your minds with things that are excellent and praiseworthy. Notice the phrase “think about such things.” The word that Paul used here means to ponder or consider seriously, and give proper weight or value to, and allow these things to influence the way we live. In other words, Paul is saying, input this. Think these things first.

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