How much of our time is spent thinking about difficult and awful things? A Reader’s Digest article from April 2012 points out that happy and great news headlines are rare. It’s so true. Our entertainment is built around conflict, from our novels to our sitcoms. There’s always a problem that must be solved. Afterall, who would want to read a novel that was all about how wonderful life was?
But the Bible tells us, in the book of Philippians chapter four, to think about good things: “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.”
Wow. That passage is such a departure from Bridezillas or an episode of 24. Who sits around thinking about those things? True? Noble? Right? Pure? Lovely? Admirable? Excellent? Praiseworthy? Changing our thinking just might change us, don’t you think?
If we had the discipline to dwell only on those things, wouldn’t that change our speech? The ways we interact in our relationships? The ways we spend our time? What’s the catch?
Let me be clear: I am NOT saying that we don’t talk about ugly things. The world has lots of ugly in it. Poverty, societal issues, and sin shouldn’t be ignored. But we should be willing to make the UGLY into LOVELY. That was what Jesus did, and we should follow His example. In fact, Jesus became UGLY for us on the cross, so that we might be LOVELY to the Lord, taking our sin and our mess and making it His own.
What I am saying… If you want to think ugly thoughts about another person, STOP YOURSELF! If you want to watch a TV show or listen to music that doesn’t measure up to Philippians 4:8, PAUSE, RETHINK, and SHUT IT OFF. If you find yourself full of worry and anxiety, or your mind is captivated by envy, anger, or other ugly things, STOP!!! Fill your mind with good things, things that Jesus would have you focus on, and work to make the ugly things of this world lovely.
And, maybe, just maybe, the world, or at least YOUR world, will be a much TRUER, NOBLER, more RIGHT, PURER, LOVELIER, more ADMIRABLE, EXCELLENT, and PRAISEWORTHY place. Can I get an amen;)?