8Finally, 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
Things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy…this is what your mind is supposed to be focused on as a follower of Jesus. That means we need to filter what is allowed to enter our mind.
We know that if we eat healthy foods, our body will be healthier. The same is true of our mind. What we allow to enter our eyes and our ears matters. The definition of immaturity is consuming everything the world offers and thinking it won’t affect the way we think and what we think about. We are trying to teach our kids to be mindful of what they hear and what they watch. And we never grow out of this truth. When Paul was writing this to the Philippians he was writing to adults.
What you watch on Netflix, Prime, HBO or Hulu matters. It matters what you see on screens, whether they are TV, computer, or phones. It matters what conversations you choose to participate in and what conversations you walk away from. What you allow in your eyes and ears will be what your mind tends to think about. So are those things true? Are they noble? Are they pure? How about lovely or admirable? Are they excellent or praiseworthy?
Just as our computers have filters on them to block inappropriate content (or they should if they don’t already) our minds need filters. Those filters are positioned on our eyes and ears. What will we allow in? If we notice that watching or listening to something causes seeds of sin to enter our heart and mind (like lust, anger, despair, racism, gossip, envy, self-righteousness, etc) then we need to cut it out of our lives.
This is what Jesus was getting at when He said, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away…”(Matthew 5:29). Jesus wasn’t speaking literally as if He was promoting self-mutilation. His hyperbolic language was supposed to help us understand the severity of leaving open gateways of sin in our lives.
Practically speaking, this looks like you stop watching that show. You stop watching or listening to the news (at least in that format). You don’t read that person’s post or article on Facebook. You don’t open your computer that late at night. You put your phone down and stop scrolling through images of “picture perfect families” or undressed women. You stop joining conversations where people are talking negatively about others at work…or church.
Your mind will produce the fruit of whatever you feed it. Feed it healthy things!