Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What are you studying? (Number 22 in a series)

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

On my cross-country drive, I played a series of CDs: my favorite gospel albums and a couple of sermons on CD given to me by a coworker. They were a tremendous encouragement when I had to drive through three day of rain with a good portion of my worldly possessions stacked on top of the car. The fourth day I was out of the rain, but had to deal with an interlude of sleet. Through it all, I was accompanied by praise and worship. I was reminded I wasn’t facing the situation alone.

When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he offered them verbal “pats on the back” and exhorted them to focus on the good and true things, not the evil and false. This strikes me as a very wise counsel for us today, as well.

What are you studying? Where are you focused? Those are the things that will color your thinking and your actions. Are you studying God’s Word or a gossip magazine? Do you listen to music that uplifts you or does it fill you with angry images? Is your time spent in positive pursuits or wasted in pointless activities?

We live in a world where many people will do almost anything in their pursuit of fame or wealth. There are game shows requiring people to win, not by playing more skillfully but by destroying the efforts of other players. Insults are the expected conversational tool. Other programs offer participants the opportunity to take physical risks, or be subjected to humiliating scenarios in hope of gain.

Much of the music today deals with unsavory language and situations. Marital infidelity, abusive treatment, drug use, promiscuous sexual relations – all of these and more are fodder for the music mill.

These sorts of “entertainment” don’t come under the heading of “good” or “true” or “virtue.” If we spend our time immersed in such things, we risk a jaundiced view of our fellow humans. Where is your focus? What are you feeding your heart and mind?

Father, thank you for encouraging words and uplifting music to keep us focused on You. Help us to think on things honoring You and to shun the things which cloud our minds. Keep our minds focused on what is pleasing to You.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

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