The best exchange we could participate in this year

We live in a click-bait world that feeds on fear and anxiety. Advertisers and media earn billions off of our clicks, and they have become experts at offering us more and more of the things we're more likely to click on and read. 

The problem is that, for some reason, we humans are a lot more likely to want to know about the scandalous things and fearful worst-case scenarios and disasters than the good things. We're many times more likely to follow something that says "2 thousand dead from ___" than we are a headline that says "280 million Americans lived peacefully today." 

Since that's what we click on, is it any wonder that advertisers feed us what we evidently want more of?  Thus, we have a constant stream of bad news available, gathered for us from all around the world, and served up through a wide variety of news media and social media. Even worse, if we miss some juicy or outrageous tidbit, the odds are good that the outraged person next to us will pass it on, eager to share! 

One result of this never-ending bounty is the epidemic of fear and anxiety that continues to increase its grip on the world. In fact, its grip is so strong that millions of people now own it, calling it "my" anxiety rather than recognizing it as a spiritual enemy originating outside of us and attacking us. 

Even if you don't suffer from fear and anxiety, then odds are good that all of this still tries to steal your peace and joy to replace it with anger, outrage, and frustration. 

Fear, anxiety, anger, outrage, and frustration… none of these are the fruit/result of the Holy Spirit reigning in our lives, are they? 


I think one of the most powerful keys against these attacks is found is an often-forgotten verse tucked away in a chapter more famously known for a later verse that says, "I can do all things…" You know the rest of that verse in Philippians 4

But let's look at verse 8. Paul says this:

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I think it's too easy to skim read those words without really thinking about what God is really saying. 

Without doing a self-evaluation. 

Let's consider the opposite. It would look something like this:

Whatever people are lying about, whatever is scandalous, whatever is wrong, whatever sin people are engaging in, whatever is nasty, whatever needs to be denounced, if there is anything bad going on and if anything worthy of condemnation, think about these things, (and post them on social media and make them your main topic of conversation, etc.)

That, of course, is not what God is saying to do. 

Or is that maybe what He's saying we should not do? 

Let's read the verse again the way the Holy Spirit gave it to Paul: 

Whatever is true,
Whatever is honorable,
Whatever is right,
Whatever is pure,
Whatever is lovely,
Whatever is commendable,
If there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise,
Think about these things.

What do you think? Is this verse really something He is telling us to do, or is it just a suggestion? 

Is He telling us to do it ALL the time, or just sometimes?

If God wants us to make the conscious choice in a world of trouble to think and talk about these kinds of things, why? 

Could it be because He loves us? 

Could it be that He knows that we empower the things that we focus on, giving them added power to affect our lives? 

What can we think and talk about when it seems that there is nothing going on around us that fits the qualifications in this verse?

HIM! For He is true and honorable and pure and lovely and worthy of praise! 

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This Christmas, let's celebrate Him and choose to end our year by giving our focus and attention to Him. 

His truth. 

His ways. 

The things that He is doing. 

Let's allow everything else that's fighting for our attention to fall away. 

Let's shove it away if we have to, that we might obey and honor Him and fix our thoughts on everything good and true and pure and lovely and worthy of commendation and praise! 

Let's exchange our thoughts for His and allow Him to renew our minds and transform us! What better gift exchange could we participate in this year?  


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"Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth." Colossians 3:2

"Let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of our faith." Hebrews 12:1-2

"For my eyes are toward You, God, the Lord; In You I take refuge." Psalm 141:8

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace."
- 1922 Hymn by Helen Howarth Lemmel

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