In chapters 6 -7 of Disciplines of a Godly Young Man, we learned about the discipline of the mind, both in what our minds are to refuse and receive. Just as certain foods are either good or bad for your body and enable you to be either in shape or out of shape, the content that we view and think about greatly impacts our spiritual health in the way that we think as Christians. Without question, we should abstain and reject certain content because it is harmful to our minds, and we should accept and receive certain content because it is helpful to our minds. So, what’s the test? How do we determine what we should think about? Of course, the answer is the Bible, because it reveals to us what is right and wrong and helpful or harmful.
The Apostle Paul gives us clear instruction on how to think and what we are to think about in Philippians 4:8, a verse worth memorizing:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
As Christians, we are to “have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16), and this is done as we “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). We must be intentional in what we look at and think about. And that’s why Philippians 4:8 is so helpful because it serves as a clear guide for us, that we are to “think about these things.” Whatever is: true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. If we are to think about such things, then we must not think about what’s opposite of them—things that are false, dishonorable, wrong, impure, unloving, looked down on, improper, or unworthy of praise. In order to have a healthy Christian mind, we must receive and reject such things.
The authors write, “As we have shown, no one will get anywhere in anything without discipline. And more, no one can have a godly mind apart from discipline—which demands the discipline of refusal. This is a call to be a man, because it takes a real man to refuse the streaming input of godless culture and then endure the inevitable misunderstanding and anger of those who are surprised that you do not run with them” (p.63). Will you accept the hard work of filtering your thoughts and the content that makes you thing such things. This includes the things we watch on television, movies, the internet, phones, and the music we listen to. The things you take in affect what you give out. As the old saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Analyze the content you look at and listen to, and receive it or reject it based on Philippians 4:8 and the counsel of God’s Word.
It’s been said, “Sow a thought and reap an act. Sow an act and reap a habit. Sow a habit and reap a character. Sow a character and reap a destiny.” Your thoughts determine your actions, and ultimately they form who you are. A.W. Tozer says, “What we think about when we are free to think about what we will—this is what we are or will soon become.” Your thoughts affect both this life and eternal life, so be sure to think biblically so that you may live biblically. May you love the Lord your God with all of your mind (Matt. 22:39) by thinking about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise—God’s Word!