It’s time for some brainwashing.
We’ve all got some crud on our keyboards; the crap in our craniums has accumulated over the unrelenting months of Covid and Campaigning. I’ll confess on behalf of both of us – you, and me – and call it straight: our minds have been sucked into septic swirls that have soured our senses and numbed our norms.
The Political Battle is over; the Legal Battle is just beginning… but the War in the Heavenlies continues to rage. Since Lucifer declared himself God’s equal, the firestorm has been stoked by the Devil and his angels in their attempt to disrupt God’s plan for redemption and populate Hell’s future with humans who missed-out on the Gospel.
I’m writing this reflection in 2020, but Paul could have penned the preview of this Current Event summation about 61AD, when he wrote the Letter to the Philippians.
It had been a decade since Paul’s first visit to the city; their church was the first entrée of the faith into Europe. It’s worth revisiting Acts 16: Paul’s vision – “the Man of Macedonia” – was a divine invitation to reroute their plans into Macedonia. Within a week of arriving, they met an erudite group of local women, gathered on the Sabbath by the river that ran alongside the city.
Lydia – an accomplished merchant from Thyatira – was the first convert; she was baptized along with her entire household. Supernatural demonstrations of the Holy Spirit happened publicly; a marketplace dispute between a shady character and Paul landed Paul and Silas in prison.
Rather than hatching a legal challenge, the missionaries filled their time with singing and praying. An earthquake and a jail full of compliant prisoners brought the jailer to faith, along with his whole family. The bogus charges were dropped when the city leaders discovered that both Paul and Silas were Roman citizens whose rights had been infringed…
That’s all backdrop. Paul was – again – behind bars for his preaching. He wrote to his friends in Philippi to encourage them, highlighting the encouragement that their faith in the Lord Jesus made real and reasonable. As he was known to do, he provided a summation of counsel that would serve them well as their ongoing life demonstrated the transformation brought by their common faith.
“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” (Philippians 4:8-9).
I’m guessing that the onslaught of mental morass is even greater for us – thanks to our 24/7 interconnected world and social media – than was problematic for the Philippians. If Paul’s filter for rumination was important then, the conditions today raise the significance all the more.
You already know the way it works: “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Ralph Waldo Emerson’s observance rings true for us all, still today.
True: agreeing with God’s Word. Noble: high-class, not shameful. Right: certain, based on God’s binary standard. Pure: untainted, flawless. Lovely: take a selfie with your thought, and your reputation rises. Admirable: people you respect would respect it. Excellent: the top of your mindshare options. Praiseworthy: people who could read your mind would applaud your thoughts.
It’s not about “what’s in your wallet?” It is, however, about “what’s on your mind?”
Care to share your thoughts?