“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:8-9. (The Message)
A couple of days ago, while searching the internet for a drawing of Jesus I love and wanted to buy for a friend, scrolling down the page, I could not believe my eyes; after several beautiful renditions of pictures of Jesus, in a bold large photo popped up a rendition I was not expecting; a nude woman displaying her curves in a crude and suggestive manner. My first reaction was to say out loud, “WHAT??” Talk about switching gears!
The Scripture verse from the book of Philippians encourages us to take control of our thoughts and to keep them positive and pure. The instruction by Paul comes from a man who was every bit as human as you and me. He knew the struggle of harnessing and reigning in the thoughts running through the minds of people who live in a broken society. Living in our current generation where every action, lifestyle, and deviant behavior is demanded of us to accept as being “normal,” might confuse some, but make no mistake, friend, God is not confused, and His Word is very clear. Our culture may believe we have progressed with the mantra that everything I want to think, do, and say is not only okay, it’s going to receive everyone’s stamp of approval, or else…!! You may fill in the ellipses with whatever comes to mind and then look around; you will see it happening in a home, relationship, family, school, church, and city near you.
Back to my opening remarks, my human eyes and thoughts are not without sin, so seeing the photo on the internet did not make me faint; however, I do try to practice God’s precepts and fight against my flesh. In frustration, I clicked out of the page source claiming to have pictures of Jesus, (sigh) and thought about how hard it is to keep our thoughts pure when unsolicited images bombard our surroundings from every direction. Pray, pray, pray for our children’s futures where so many opportunities exist to corrupt their minds and hearts from a very young age, then, pray for those in our world who need a good dose of reality, knowing that if we do not confess to God and change our behavior here on earth, we will answer to Him one day. Our God is long-suffering in His patience, but it is only as enduring as we each have need of oxygen to breathe.
His forgiveness awaits all who long for it and who will humble themselves to ask!