Philippians 4:8 – 9 NIV says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
We can train our brains to kick hell out by not inviting hell in!
My mind races! Sometimes I feel like I’m in the starting blocks as soon as I wake up, and if left unchecked my thoughts go from innocent nervousness, to worry, to anxiousness, to panic in 30 seconds flat. I mean, this mind, of mine can be out of control. For years I allowed my thoughts to roam free and to go wherever the events of the day or the reports on the news took it. NOT ANYMORE! Someone explained this verse in Philippians to me with a metaphor. “Just like you train your muscles to be strong by doing what it takes to get them in shape; we must do the same kind of work with our minds.” Our minds have to be trained to think on truth, nobility, righteousness, purity and loveliness.
Our natural inclination is just the opposite. Aren’t we intrigued by “reality tv” even though we know it is scripted. Lies draw us in. When in line at the grocery store do you read the headlines of the tabloids? Do you know that the stories are over-sensationalized before your eyes hit the paper. This is a training moment. STOP! PAUSE! Redirect your attention.
Redirect your attention.
I was doing a workshop on music for a youth group and I gave the teenagers this verse and told them to give their favorite song the Philippians 4:8 test. Here is the test, (I think it is helpful for everything we take in: all media, all conversation, all relationships.)
Would the things that you spend the most time with pass the test?
1. Are the words that are being spoken true? Are they true about you? Are they true to what God says about you? Would you like the words or actions to become true?
2. Are the words/actions noble? Are they respectable? Are they fitting in all situations? Would these actions or words be encouraged or discouraged by Jesus Christ? (He is listening.)
3. Are the words/ actions right? Are they righteous? Are they filled with virtues? Are they reflective of the life Jesus wants you to live? You know right from wrong – Where does this fall?
4. Are the words/actions lovely? Are they full of love? Are they free from hate, bias, prejudice, misogyny, hurt, harm and other things that are not showing love? We can fill in the blank with many loveless acts.
5. Are the words/actions admirable? Are they things that would inspire someone? Would you want to become what you see/ hear? Would God be excited about the words/actions? Did He exemplify any?
6. Are the words/ actions excellent or praiseworthy? Is it extremely good? Is it outstanding by the standards of the God we serve?
The question that came up after this test was, “Well, what can we watch? What can we listen to that passes the test?” Isn’t it sad that many of us believe the lie that we don’t have any options other than ones that don’t please God. We have to train our mind to desire what God desires. We have to seek out entertainment that is uplifting – that passes the Philippians 4:8 test! There is music that is pleasing to God that has everything you need without pulling you away from Him. There are movies that won’t tempt you to lust and lure you toward sin. We have to look to Him for everything. We have to look for Him in everything.
If you are wondering how to look for God read this blog from early December.
Be mindful of your calling. Be mindful of your training. Be mindful of what you take in. The answers to these questions will be different for each of us. We have to heed verse 9, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” The peace of God will let us know when we are on track. The absence of that peace will let us know when we need to re-evaluate.
We have to train our minds like we train our muscles. We have to seek Him first! No compromise. No lukewarmity! (I know that’s not a word, but you know what I mean.) We can train our brains to kill hell out by not inviting hell in!
We love to hear from you! Please share a comment about how you put this verse into action, or how you monitor your media. We are better when we walk this road together.
Remember you can also submit a prayer request here – We are praying for all of us as we train our brains to live out loud for Jesus – in the public and private choices.
Try the Philippians 4:8 ten day challenge and let us know what God does. For ten days monitor your entertainment with the Philippians 4:8 questions above. We would love to hear about it.