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In Philippians 4:8 we are instructed to keep our minds focused, or occupied on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Since what we see has a direct impact on what we think, it only stands to reason that the things we see should also be true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. In the final analysis, anything you see that takes your love and focus away from God, from His Word, and from doing His will, doesn’t belong in your life.
Welcome to Episode 54 of The Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. In this episode we will open the Scriptures and discover together how to Prepare Our Minds for Action!
In Psalm 119:37, David warns us to “turn our eyes away from looking at worthless things.” That’s solid advice. In fact, he goes on to warn us to “not set before (our) eyes anything that is worthless.” (Psalm 101:3) Here’s why: When we allow the wickedness of this world to enter our eyes it will penetrate our minds, and we run the high risk of our thought patterns becoming altered, which will eventually affect and impact our behavior. Simply put - what you think will strongly influence what you do.
So, here’s what I want you to consider. What do you watch on TV? What movies do you watch? What online games do you play? What magazines or books do you read? Where do you let your eyes linger?
What ungodly things are you exposing your mind to? What tiny little, almost imperceptible seed thoughts might the enemy be planting. Seeds grow. What crop will those seeds produce? Maybe not right away, but consider this: over time those seeds will sprout into weeds that will choke out the Word of God in your life.
If you do not guard your heart by being careful of what you allow your eyes to see, the deception of Satan will slowly creep in and warp your thinking, pulling you away from God. Never forget that “bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) Let me repeat that verse. 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us that “bad company corrupts good morals.”
What kind of “company” are you allowing into your home and into your mind by way of your eyes and the things you see? If you allow your eyes to see that which does not glorify God, you are allowing your mind to think on things that do not glorify God – you are entertaining bad company. And that “bad company” will influence your thoughts, and your thoughts will direct your life.
To help drive this point home, I want you to listen closely to the following verses that I’m going to quote to you.
Are you doing that? Are you examining everything that crosses your path, are you inspecting and scrutinizing everything you see and hear to make sure that it is good, godly, and glorifying your Heavenly Father? Are you holding fast – clinging to only that which is good and abstaining (staying far, far away from anything that is evil?
Are you doing that? Are you staying focused, are you remaining alert – on guard – vigilant – always being attentive and aware of those things that are contrary to God’s Word and God’s will for your life?
If you haven’t made the same commitment as David did, to “set before my eyes no vile thing,” then I challenge you to commit to that right here and right now. Make the decision today to say, “My eyes are ever (always and only) on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare.” (Psalm 25:15)
Not only do the things you see have a powerful impact on what you do, so do the things you listen to. It is equally as important that you guard your mind from being attacked by the things you hear. Proverbs 23:12 instructs you to “apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.”
God wants you to make an intentional, conscious effort to be aware of what you are hearing every day. Discipline yourself to permit only those things that glorify God to influence your thinking. Never allow yourself to hear “obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” (Ephesians 5:4)
Jesus warns us (Mark 4:24) to “pay attention to what you hear.” That simple statement packs a very powerful punch. I want you to think about the words “pay attention.” “Pay attention to what you hear.” Those words refer to turning your thoughts to everything you are hearing and weighing each and every word carefully. Whether it’s on the radio, TV, the movies, at school, work, talking sports with your friends, or even chatting with family—what you hear affects what you think, and what you think strongly influences what you do.
Every moment of every day you are personally responsible for what you hear. You are personally accountable to God for what you choose to listen to. Therefore, you must daily turn your thoughts to everything you’re hearing, weighing every word, clinging only to those words that glorify God.
Remember Philippians 4:8? Our minds are to be thoroughly occupied with things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.
For example, if a TV show or movie uses foul, vulgar language, or shows something sexual, turn it off or stand up and walk out of the theatre. Not after the fourth time, not after the third time; don’t even allow it to go on past the first time. If it happened once, it’s likely to happen again.
Paul exhorts us to “put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8) Think about this: if I am not to be doing these things, then I shouldn’t be exposing my mind to them!
Your eyes and your ears are gateways into your mind. What you allow to enter through those gates will impact your effectiveness for Christ.
It is vital to your spiritual growth that you always set your focus on God. Never let it wander from Him, no matter what lure the enemy may use in an attempt to draw your attention away. Always be focused. Always be strong. Don’t allow the worldly things you see each day to turn you away from following Christ.
Remember, what we see influences what we think; and what we think impacts what we do. That is why …
What you allow yourself to think about—everything that goes on in your mind—matters to God. Scripture is quite clear on the issue. Set a guard around your mind, my friend. Lock it down tightly by being very careful about what you see and what you hear.
David asked God to “turn my eyes away from worthless things” (Psalm 119:37), and you are commanded to “set before [your] eyes no vile thing” (Psalm 101:3).
Let’s consider the “worthless things” and “vile things” you need to turn your eyes away from. Getting down to the nitty-gritty, answer the following questions honestly:
First of all – before doing this exercise, I want you to grab a sheet of paper and a pencil or a pen. At the top of the page, I want you to write out 1 Corinthians 10:31 which says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” OK, now I want you to answer the following two questions with this text as your foundation.
One of those resources I would like to highlight for you here is my book entitled “Extreme Mind Makeover: How to transform sinful thoughts and habits into patterns of life pleasing to God.” This book takes you on a journey through the Bible to examine what God has to say about how your thoughts, words, and actions influence and impact your heart.
Jesus said, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33) Your thoughts bear fruit: your behavior. When you train your mind to think godly thoughts, the fruit of your life – the things you do day in and day out – will be godly. On the flip side, when you allow your mind to think sinful, fleshly, ungodly thoughts, the fruit of your life (your daily attitudes and actions) will be ungodly. So, how do I change the way I think? How do I change the things I do? How do I successfully and effectively guard my heart? This book, “Extreme Mind Makeover” takes you into God’s Word to help you answer those questions.
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So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.