Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.6 Donâ€™t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally brothers, whatever is true,whatever is honorable,whatever is just,whatever is pure,whatever is lovely, whatever is commendableâ€”if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praiseâ€”dwell on these things. 9 Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Â Â Philippians 4:4-9 (HCSB)
For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments 5 and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ. Â Â 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (HCSB)
The passage from Philippians is often quoted by Christians who are attempting to lift up someone else or rolling their eyes about their own current life experiences. It’s so much easier to tell someone else to buck up, isn’t it? I don’t believe that Paul is writing this from a cheerleader’s lofty inexperience but from a path that has led him through some rocky roads. He is repeating Jesus’ teaching that worry doesn’t help but if I choose God’s way and focus on His treasures, the rest He will take care of (Matthew 6:25-34). But how do I control my thoughts?
There is no magic formula. I believe that there is a component in my flesh that is like a â€œworry virus.â€ I was born with it and depending on my upbringing and external inputs it can grow and become part of my personality. And like any other virus, there is no easy cure. But there is a treatment.
â€œTake capture every thoughtâ€ Paul says is part of our spiritual war. We know that the Holy Spirit speaks, sometimes without words, to our spirit. I begin with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to take control of my mind. Let the Holy Spirit put a filter on my mind and sift out the garbage, leaving only what is true,whatever is honorable,whatever is just,whatever is pure,whatever is lovely, whatever is commendableâ€”if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise. It is a choice. It is accepting that allowing worry to spin and spin around in my head is destructive. It is letting go of the reins that I have firmly gripped in my hands and opening my grip to allow the Spirit to program my mind to listen to His words.
The exercise of training my mind will involve choosing what I will listen to, read, and watch. If you do not believe that what you read, watch & listen to affects your mind, you are deceiving yourself. Movies and television shows of wars, horrific conflicts and crime impact my mind in a different way than musicals and comedy that I watch with my children. Watching reality shows filled with over-the-top drama and idiotic behavior can be funny but do not ignore the subtleties of their conflicts and disrespect. Am I a Christian fanatic if I take the time and effort to take what I watch, listen and read and hold it up to Philippians 4:8? Test it. Take a month and put that filter on and see how you feel after 30 days.
There is darkness in this world. I want to choose to bring Light into my life. I want Light to fill me so that it leaks out of me to everyone I meet. I want people to know the Light in me. As I go through this life I want only the Light of all that is God to remain when I am gone.
Days of Elijah written by Robin Mark and sung by Paul Wilbur