Watch What You Hear, Think, See: They Become Your Destiny

Paul’s letter to the people of Philippi was essentially a love letter to a group of dear friends. At the time he wrote it, he was in all likelihood under the watch of Roman guards during his house arrest in Rome, around AD 61. His letter was full of affection and Fatherly advice, seasoned with some encouraging exhortation. If you read the whole letter, it is easy to see that Paul wrote them based on the close personal relationships he had formed among the citizens of Philippi.

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A Better Kind of “Whatever”

As the epistle draws to a close, he offers them this exhortation: “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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9 NIV).

Paul’s advice to the Philippians was given in a simpler time, when people had fewer options and more control over what to watch or what they thought about. They could actually choose what to think about rather than having their thoughts (pick one) influenced, polluted, distracted, contaminated, invaded, diluted, or dulled by hundreds or perhaps thousands of daily media messages… (Sources say that they average American sees 3000-5000 commercial messages a DAY! Even if it is half that, think about the number of things you watch and messages you encounter every. Single. Day.)

Now ask yourself this: Of the media you hear or see every day (TV, movies, advertising, song lyrics, social media, Pinterest, Internet searches, etc.), how much of it is noble or pure? How much of it is excellent or praiseworthy? How many hours a day are you watching or listening to someone else? What music do you listen to? Is its message good or bad? What song lyrics have you memorized over the years without even thinking about it? Paul says what we put into our minds is one of the keys to enjoying a peaceful heart!

Realizing What Becomes You

Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote, “I am a part of all that I have met.” But, what has become part of YOU? Even some of the “harmless” media like Facebook or Pinterest can suck you in and hold you spellbound over things of this earth. You can waste a LOT of time dreaming of things and comparing, even perhaps coveting some of the things you see… And there are FAR more harmful things than Pinterest out there on the internet. So be careful what you think about.

Don’t forget the acronym to WATCH your inner life: Watch your Words, for Words become Actions. Be careful of your Actions, for Actions become Thoughts; Watch your Thoughts, for Thoughts become Consistent. Consistent Actions become Habits. Watch your Habits, for they become your Destiny. I have modified that old statement in a way that seems more progressive to me: WATCH refers to What you see, your Attitudes, Time, Character, and Habits, and how that influences your Will, your Actions, your Treasure, your Companions, and How you Live:

WATCH

Watch WHAT YOU SEE, for when you close your eyes, you see it still:
It nibbles the foundation at the corners of your WILL.
Your Will affects your ATTITUDE and ACTIONS that you take;
They influence your TIME and the decisions that you make.
Your THOUGHTS become your CHARACTER, which governs what you do,
Or maybe the COMPANIONS you decide to take with you…
Will they create good HABITS in the end, or will you see
That what you’ve done in all these things affects your destiny?

Paul challenged folks in Philippi to think on what is pure,
To dwell on lovely, noble things of which they could be sure.
He challenged them to think on what is lovely, right and true:
If that advice was good for them, it’s good for me. And you.

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread
For the Kindle Edition, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Bo-Jackson-ebook/dp/B01K5Z0NLA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-2&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread

Resolutions for the OTHER kind of New Year’s Health and Fitness

Let’s face it. 2020 was a tough year, and 2021 has been no picnic, either. Because of all of the stress and strain from Covid, Delta, and Omicron, you (like me) may have done a little comfort eating. I know that a whole bunch of people out there are going to make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, get in better shape, and improve they way they look. (And I’m one of ’em!)

It’s Day One of a brand New Year (thank the good Lord!), the day when everyone resolves to make some changes and get stuff done! If you’re like me, you will look in the mirror and decide to make some improvements. Workouts will resume and optimism will be high! In January, the gyms will be busy. We all know the population of resolution-makers thins back out (ironic) in February as muscles ache and enthusiasm wanes… So, maybe it’s time to come up with some other resolutions for New Year’s!

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Get Into Shape!

People work hard on getting back in shape. (My own problem when it comes to fitness is that I am usually concerned with “fitness donut into my mouth”!) But 2021 begins with health restrictions that challenge those fitness resolutions. The New Year requires some new thinking about working out. People are doing Peloton, Mirror, and home workout classes. This year, folks will be expanding their resolutions in order to get into some smaller clothes!

But stop to consider that there is more than one kind of fitness. Physical fitness is certainly desirable, but don’t forget to work on your mental and spiritual fitness as well! When you start writing those New Year’s resolutions this year, try to think of more than just your outward appearance. Build some spiritual muscle along with those physical ones.

What’s on the Menu?

Jeremiah says, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them.” Peter says, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow by it.” The Bible, it seems, is our spiritual food! So try this– if you drew a picture of your “spiritual man (or woman)”, based solely on how many spiritual meals you get each week (that one small meal at church seems kinda small now, doesn’t it?), then what kind of shape are you in? Is your spiritual man or woman robust and healthy, or are you a poor refugee who is starving?

Get a good mental image of your spiritual self, sitting over there in the corner of your mind… Maybe it would be good to feed them a few meals that provide spiritual sustenance. Here are a few suggestions from a book filled with ready-made New Year’s resolutions:

Just Do It

“Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 NKJV)

“Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.” (Lamentations 3:40-41, NKJV)

“Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the Lord God of hosts will be with you…” (Amos 5:14, NKJV)

“And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”. (Colossians 3:23 NKJV)

“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all of these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33, NKJV)

Choose Today

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15, NKJV)

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 KJV)

There are LOTS of other good resolutions in there, and hey, it’s a new year! Feel free to dig into that book and find your own. Then work on them a little bit every day. Your spiritual man (or woman!) will thank you for it!

The Wimpy Spiritual Man

Somewhere, in the corners of your mind
Your spiritual man sits weakened, frail, and blind;
You treat him like you really never need him,
And rarely work him out, or even feed him!
He really only asks for your permission
To have him work beside you on your mission.

So this year, when you’re making resolutions,
Remember your poor spiritual constitution:
Work him out a little every day,
Encourage him to venture out and play!
Here’s a little challenge, then, for you:
Feed your spiritual man a meal or two.
You’ll be surprised at all that he can do!
When he gets stronger, you’ll be stronger too.

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread