Yesterday in America, two members of a news team from Virginia lost their lives while in the process of broadcasting live on TV. I will watch the newsclips about their lives. I will honor their names—Alison and Adam. I will grieve in empathy with their loved ones, even though I did not know them. But I will immediately turn off the news or change the channel when information about their killer comes on. I don’t think killers deserve air time.
For some reason, I am struck today by the reality of how much “air time” we give to the negative elements of our lives. Negativity does not rob us of our joy; we place our joy directly into the hands of negativity, and in growing numbers we no longer put up a fight. (Notice that I said, “We.” Oh how aware I am of the fact that I lead the pack in making wrong choices far too often.) We spend hours each week allowing our minds to violate—yes, violate—the command in Philippians 4:8, which states:
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8, NLT).
It’s not naive to focus on the positive. Yes, you must be realistic: trials will come; you will have heartache and hardships; and your dreams could be dashed in one single act. But where is your focus? Where is my focus? What am I giving the air time of my days to?
You see, I don’t believe that God gives us commands without providing the means to achieve, strive for, and obey them.
So if He tells me that my thoughts should be on truth, why would I settle for second best (or worse) and listen to lies from the evil one? The evil ick whispers in our ears all kinds of hoo-ha, making us think that what we’re doing is harmless (which it might be…at that moment), causing us to pridefully think we’re above the probable consequences of our choices, and telling us that we deserve what we want, regardless of the dishonesty, secrecy, or wrong motives behind our desired goal.
And yet for every whisper of the evil ick, there is a promise that is boldly and permanently stated by our merciful God! That’s where our focus should be. That’s where we should invest our time, energy, and resources. Things that are untrue, dishonorable, wrong, impure, morally ugly, and disgusting are forever changing. The truths in God’s Word are unchanging. Period.
So maybe I’ll have to give up something that seems at first glance to be profitable to me financially or socially or in conjunction with my career or my family. So what? God is greater! When my focus is Christ, the words of the old hymn are proven true: “The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!” Look to that light. Keep your focus on that which is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise!
Don’t make provision to give in to the negative elements or to the sin that the evil ick is painting with the brush of momentary beauty. Walk away. The perceived loss is minuscule compared to the incomparable joy, love, and peace that He has promised to provide!