Monday, May 14, 2007

Whatever is Right

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."

I've been thinking about Paul's encouragement in Philippians 4:8 for a few months. I memorized the verse and try to apply it to my life. A simple and beautiful verse has proven to be a difficult one as well. It takes a lot more energy to train my mind to go to good and edifying places than the usual direction. And then stay there awhile instead of taking a brief visit and splitting off to head towards destinations my human nature commonly takes it.

There is a YouTube cartoonist who has a running narrative while he draws the cartoon. There is one on depression that I only got through half way--sometimes on YouTube, the video has difficulty loading, especially if it is popular--but he describes trying to get ideas from various people about how to deal with depression. A co-worker's advice entails thinking about positive things, like puppies and kittens. For several days, she sends him emails with attachments of flowers and pretty crap to help him get over his depressing thoughts. I don't know the outcome, but from the tone of the cartoon, he is more annoyed than helped.

There is a lot to be said about the "garbage in, garbage out" approach. The co-worker has a valid point, but I think an incomplete one. Although I benefit from being choosy in the media, books and websites that I dwell on, my mind does an excellent job of creating its own sinful thoughts without any help from the outside. And some things need to be seen and heard that aren't neccessarily pretty or cute, that would make me aware that this world has a lot of bad things happening that I need to pray about and show compassion for or get angry about. Puppies and kittens do not point my mind towards whatever is right.

So, the thinking about Philippians 4:8 led me to Galatians 5:16-26 eventually. I can't do Phil 4:8 on my own strength. I need Someone more.

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