“O be careful little eyes what you see…and ears what you hear..” (children’s song)
As we continue on our list of the ten things graduates need to know (see 5-22-23), we are on number three,
What we put in our minds matters.
We covered yesterday what we put in our bodies concerning mind-altering drinks and chemicals. Today we will be concerned with what we see and hear. The things we gaze at and the things we listen to shape our thinking and influence our moods. I used the word, “gaze,” which means, “look steadily and intently, especially in admiration, surprise, or thought.” A quick look doesn’t qualify, but if we linger in our look, something has caught our attention and we do more than just look; we gaze at it.
We can gaze at beauty, like a field of flowers, but there is a dark side of gazing which causes desire, envy, and jealousy. It’s okay to want something, but there is a line that can be crossed, and when we do, we fall prey to traps and pitfalls. Let’s look at a few examples of the dark side:
- Reading- There are political, theological, and other venues that call for us to choose sides even when there is no real need to do so. Some promote hate, and others incite people to “take action” against others. We must be careful what we read. (This also applies to podcasts we listen to.)
- Music- What people don’t realize is that lyrics to songs are sermons. They are messages that drive deep in our memory if not our souls. Here again, hate-mongering, sensual descriptions, and all things immoral are found in the lyrics of songs. We must be careful what we listen to.
- Screen time- This category includes phones, computers, tv’s and movie screens. What we put into our minds comes out in our daily lives: Garbage in–>Garbage out. Likewise, Goodness in–>Goodness out. We must be careful what we watch on screens.
- Pornography- Porn is described as anything that creates sexual desire outside of God’s design for sex. It can be in what we read, what we listen to, and what we look at. It releases a dopamine rush which the brain wraps around and demands more. Other people become objects for consumption rather than individuals of worth. The immediate desire for pornography takes the place of investing in a loving relationship.* It puts the emphasis in the wrong place of what is truly important in a relationship and demands unrealistic and unsustainable expectations.
Our key passage for today’s topic is Colossians 3:1-4,
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
It is easy to be deceived into believing that this world is all we have and to consume as much as possible in the little time we have. But the truth is it’s an extremely small part of our eternity. Let’s use this world to prepare for the next where Christ is King and we no longer have to struggle with a sin nature. How do we do that? By filling our minds with these:
8 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. Philippians 4:8
Want a memory verse? Say this one every morning and then live by it!
Lord Jesus, help us to control our minds by watching what we read, listen to, and look at. May we train ourselves in righteousness and godliness rather than in licentiousness** and debauchery***. We follow You, Lord, for You have the words of life, as Peter said. We need You to help us shape our minds and hearts for Your kingdom and for Your work. Have Your way in us. Amen.
*Effects of Porn Addiction On a Teen Brain-Focus On the Family
**Licentious- Licentiousness is defined as “promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters” or “disregarding accepted rules or conventions, especially in grammar or literary style” 1. It is also said to characterize Gentiles and heretics 2. When Paul uses the word, he usually has in mind sexual unrestraint 3.
***Debauchery- Debauchery refers to engaging in extreme forms of body-pleasing activity, generally considered to involve sex, alcohol, or drugs1. It is often considered immoral and is behavior that is excessively decadent, indulgent, and depraved2.