(The following is the September 6 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Philippians 4 and pay close attention to verses 8-9.)
What we choose to fill our thoughts with daily impacts our attitude, outlook, character, and actions. Paul knew this when he encouraged Philippian Christians to dwell on more Christlike thoughts: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – dwell on these things” (v. 8).
Countless unhealthy attractions clamor for our attention daily. Our minds will be far from what pleases God if we consume worldly entertainment full of vulgarity and immorality. Much harm comes from focusing on upsetting information that fills the news and social media sites while neglecting God’s Word, leading us to fret about the world’s problems and drift toward hopelessness rather than enjoy our hope in Christ. Those who succumb to pornography develop distorted views of love and sex, damaging current and potential relationships, including their walk with Christ. Looking for what is wrong in people rather than encouraging what is godly harms our Christian witness, the people involved, and the church. These examples of unhealthy thoughts are the opposite of what Paul said to dwell on – what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, morally excellent, and praiseworthy.
God is holy, and he calls us to be holy. We can’t do that if we willfully fill our minds with unholy things. We reap the benefit that the God of peace will be with us (v. 9) only if we follow Paul’s instructions.
What negative influences fill your mind and shape your attitudes contrary to God’s Word? What Christ-honoring habits can you develop to replace negative influences with godly ones? Enlist the help of a trusted Christian friend for accountability if needed.