As I read my Bible, I marvel at how the words written so long ago continue to inspire and instruct, transcending time and culture. In fact, the wisdom of the Scriptures often speak to many of the struggles believers face today. This became apparent to me recently while I was reading one particular passage that seemed to literally leap off the page. Though familiar, this time it just appeared more urgent. As in…don’t just read on by because you know it by heart. Don’t just think it means the same thing to you as the last time you read it. Slow down. Contemplate. Dwell.
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“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, 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. The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
American Standard Version
In these times, it is easy to think on things that do not edify, encourage, or bring peace. Of course, we do not live in a vacuum, and we need to be aware of what’s going on around us in order to be informed and prepared. But how often do we allow ourselves to think on things at length that cause us distress? Or cause us to have thoughts contrary to purity, loveliness, and virtue?
I have found that thoughts generate emotions and actions. If I dwell on a situation that caused me pain, those feelings will surface again. And unfortunately, those thoughts and feelings can affect how I act towards others. But the opposite is also true. If I think on things that are of good report, and think on those things that reinforce godliness, I am going to be uplifted, also affecting how I treat others.
But this time, it is for the better.
With all the exposure we have to a variety of messages that affect our thoughts, attitudes, and actions, we must learn to be intentional about those things we think about. Maybe it is a matter of disconnecting from those things that are not edifying and connecting to things that are. For me, I am going to be more intentional. And I am going to help my family be more intentional with our music, media and movie choices.
Maybe that’s something for you to think about, too. If so, let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
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