Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Early in my walk with Jesus, I realized that what I thought about and what I exposed myself to made a significant difference, both to my mood and to my continued walk with Christ. There was certain music that I had loved for years, but in listening to it with my “new ears” I found that it put me in a foul mood and made me feel more aggressive every time I listened to it. I found that foul language affected me differently than it had before I knew Jesus, and I no longer wanted to be exposed to it. (I also no longer wanted to speak it, although that is a struggle that I haven’t yet fully mastered.) I found that certain movies or movie scenes were not helpful to my walk, even though some of them were movies that I had watched often and previously enjoyed.
What was I to do about all of this?
For me, the decision was simple: It had to go. All of it. I threw away hundreds of dollars’ worth of CDs and tapes and videos; they all ended up in the trash bin. I quit seeing R rated movies as I found elements of them too disturbing to my inner peace. I found myself more often listening to the Christian music stations than the secular ones.
My approach to this may not be for everyone; I just know that it worked for me. I still listen to select secular music as well as Christian music. I go to movies with family-friendly ratings. I find that I haven’t missed anything of importance to me at all. I have found that it’s easier to keep my thoughts fixed on Jesus and things of the Kingdom when I minimize the unhelpful influences. My heart stays freer and happier when my thoughts are fixed on the important things.
What do you do to focus on the “whatever”?