Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
I think one would have to be emotionally insensitive or blind and deaf not to notice the negativity that permeates today’s society. It’s in the media, in social interactions, in institutions, in business dealings, everywhere. And it seems impossible to escape.
During this Lent season, have you ever been tempted to take a fast from the daily news reports? It’s worth a try. You can swear off cable news, but then you’re attacked by texts and mobile broadcasts. Not one network specializes in sending out good tidings.
God has a remedy in Philippians for the constant deluge against our peace of mind. He tells us what to think about: true, honest, just, pure, lovely things and those things that are good. Things that are worth thinking about. Such a litmus test would be invaluable to our mental health. Is this true, honest and just? Is it pure, lovely, and good? If not, kick it out.
Paul also says that we are to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5). We don’t have to tolerate all the nonsense that flies at us nonstop. We can and must make our thoughts obey Christ—conform to his standard of truth, honesty, justice, purity, loveliness, and goodness. We are to capture our thoughts and not allow them to take us captive.
One of my friends told me the old adage about the birds: You can’t keep them from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair. It’s time to take control of our thoughts.
Thank you, Father, that you have a remedy for everything that disturbs our peace. Help us to guard our minds and to screen those thoughts we allow into our heads. We want “the meditation of our hearts” to be acceptable in your sight. In Jesus our Lord. AMEN.