A few years ago, a woman shared with me a story about finding her preteen son watching news coverage of a violent event. Instinctively, she reached for the remote and changed the channel. “You don’t need to be watching that stuff,” she told him rather abruptly. An argument followed, and eventually she shared that he needed to fill his mind with “whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely . . .” (Philippians 4:8). After dinner, she and her husband were watching the news when suddenly their five-year-old daughter burst in and turned off the television. “You don’t need to be watching that stuff,” she declared in her best “mom” voice. “Now, think about those Bible things!”
As adults, we can better absorb and process the news than our children. Still, the couple’s daughter was both amusing and wise when she echoed her mother’s earlier instructions. Even well-adjusted adults can be affected by a steady diet of the darker side of life. Meditating on the kind of things Paul lists in Philippians 4:8 is a powerful antidote to the gloom that sometimes settles on us as we see the condition of our world.
Making careful decisions about what fills our minds is an excellent way to honor God and guard our hearts as well.
Father, open our eyes today to what’s beautiful. Teach us to meditate on You.
What we let into our minds shapes the state of our souls.
The virtuous life described in Philippians 4:8 is to be the believer’s focus. What is “true” refers to basing one’s life on reality according to God’s Word. “Noble” means honest or worthy of respect. “Right” corresponds to a moral sense of what is fair. “Pure” indicates a character that is not polluted by sin. “Lovely” means expressing love toward others in relationships. Finally, “admirable” carries with it the idea of a positive reputation and reliable Christian character.
What are some specific ways you can display these virtues this week?
For further reading, see Kingdom Living: Embracing the Virtues of the King at discoveryseries.org/hp091.