“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8 ESV).Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23 ESV). But, how do they get there? Paul answers, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1Corinthians 15:33 ESV). Influence! Like the old saying, “You are what you eat.” So it is with the flesh, and so it is with the spirit. Whatever you let influence you is what you will become. Fill your mind with bad words, and you’ll eventually say them.
We have to be very selective about what we see and hear and spend time thinking about. If it isn’t wholesome, leave it alone. You don’t want it in your heart. Once you let a lot of bad stuff in your mind, like grass stains on white pants, it can be real hard to get out!
But, it’s not just about what we don’t do. God doesn’t want us to spend our lives just trying not to do bad things. He wants us to actively do good things instead. That’s what Paul is teaching us in Philippians 4:8. We become what we think about, so if we’re going to be people who live right we have to think right first. So, we all need to seek truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, and so on. When you find something that fits into one of these categories, think about it. Really think about it. Keep on thinking about it and it will be like a padlock on the door to your heart keeping the bad stuff out.
Remember, you will become just like whatever continues to influence you. Trashy influences will turn you into trash! Thinking about clean things will keep you clean, and in this sense, “cleanliness” really is “next to godliness!”
Take a few minutes to talk about possible bad influences that lead you to think on bad things. Discuss solutions that will help you keep your thoughts more wholesome and positive.
Most families are just way too busy these days. While we all have a lot of legitimate things we have to do, a lot of what eats up our precious time isn’t really necessary. I urge you to select an evening once a week and make it “unplugged night.” On this evening nobody watches TV, plays video games, and no one gets on a computer or talks on the phone unless it’s an emergency. Just “unplug” and spend time reading, praying, talking with your family, and playing cards or board games. I challenge you to try this and you’ll feel stress melt away and relationships deepen as you grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. “Unplugged night” is also a great time for a family “memorization meal”!
Close with a prayer, and to ask God to help you keep your minds on good things.
May the Lord bless your family devotionals!
“Didn't God create you to become like one person with your wife? And why did he do this? It was so you would have children, and then lead them to become God's people. Don't ever be unfaithful to your wife” (Malachi 2:15 CEV).