He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)
A few weeks ago, I pondered the wisdom of acquiring every material gem that regular folks of society are pressured to want and have, and anything less than those possessions and wealth is frowned upon. I had mentioned we’re also fed a daily scoop of lies about what the American dream really is.
But that was all the external wealth. What’s inside? What are we filled with in both our minds and our hearts? God gave us some standards of thoughts and actions to live by, which happens to be a lot higher than most of the world’s. Take a look at these words from Philippians 4:8:
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.
Are our regular stream of thoughts, entertainment and aspirations the same values as what a holy God desires us to embrace and project?
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
How many hours a day do we waste in front of our big screens soaking up the world’s lower standards like good little minions, and to eventually enjoy the mind-speed the media feeds us as ‘normal’ behavior? It’s not the only issue, but our entertainment plays a huge part in our values, both observed and displayed.
Do the shows, games or movies contain any of the virtues listed above? For most of us, the intake of shocking television with pretty people doing horrible things to others fills a majority of our time. To add confusion, adults and kids are spoon-fed ads on what we should eat, what we should look like, what we should have, what we should want, and who we should be like. This is the new ‘norm’”, we are told and sold on. If we don’t show it, we are ‘un-cool’ and ‘bad parents’. Losers. Unconventional. Weird.
This is an area that makes a major case in favor of ‘less is more’. Less worldly media, more other holy, positive, and even practical things. There’s NO room for personal choices – for adults or kids – outside what the masses are doing, and all that has a big impact on our contentment and outlook in life. .
Everyone knows by now that ‘we are what we eat’, and the American diet is loaded with fat, sugar, salt and GMO’s, which feeds heavily into the health epidemics in this country, right?. It’s the same with our minds and hearts. What we take into our minds regularly, we eventually become, which are desensitized adrenaline junkies! We have become dumbed-down and completely hooked on the ‘shocking episodes’ as we count down the days until the next episode or season. Tell me if that is not true! And then we wonder why our lives spin by so fast.
There’s seemingly no escape…
What’s even worse, a sad majority of modern churches also feed the need for ‘mind speed’, and has reached such a frequency that we can’t even sit still at church for a quiet hour of worship and inner- reflection between the loud rock band choruses, cotton-candy sweet prosperity ‘now’ sermons, and suggested reading materials of every famous preacher’s best seller book instead of scriptures themselves. Where is there time to think about our personal relationship with the Lord?
We go about our work week just as stressed and lost as we were before church began on Sunday, there is no talk about God’s peace through genuine search for who He is in Scripture, true repentance, and true reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. Many wonder why they don’t feel close to God the rest of the week.
Dirty and full…..
Just like dirty water pollutes body and everything with disease and death, (sin, trashy tv, addictions, evil, etc), clean water cleanses and purifies, renews, refreshes, etc., like purity and Christ. (Revelation 22:1)
Less dirty water means purer cleaner body, mind/spirit. You have less to worry about without all that extra garbage to process.
Do you convey purity in your thoughts, your actions, attitude, choices of entertainment and lifestyle to those who don’t know Christ? Are your choices hindering your own walk? Are we looking at life through our own eyes or through those of Christ? How can we see things from a Christ perspective if we only concentrate on worldly things?
That is one reason the bible says to think of things that are from Heaven above, such as purity; peace-loving, consideration, submission, mercy, good fruit, impartiality and sincerity.
Where can we find these traits? I suspect not in too many hearts these days, and certainly not from most of today’s celebrities. How can you get back to the good things in life, things that can never be replaced?
Are we looking at life through our own eyes or through those of Christ? How can we see things from a Christ perspective if we only concentrate on worldly things?
Also important – Do others see the fruits of the Spirit in us or the limited value of clothing and our hours spent with vanity?
When is it enough?
How much of your day includes the above listed fruits? How much do you smile and truly feel peaceful, content, clean-hearted and mind? 5% ? 25% ? 50% ? 80% ? Any of these?
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)
Most are so busy with working, just paying the bills and making Jr. happy that they can’t even schedule time to balance themselves with the other parts of life (mental, spiritual, emotional, physical),. Most of us have ‘honey-do’ or ‘to do’ lists, add to them frequently, look at them in despair after we burn out, then nothing is enjoyed or finished. The easy way is to drop onto a couch with the tv on and we’re done for the day.
Where is quiet time with God on that list?
How can we be the ambassadors from something much bigger than us, the lights in the darkness, the beacons of hope and unchanging truth when we are so full of other things of the world ourselves?
Who’s to blame?
Just ask yourself – Do others see the fruits of the Spirit in us or the limited value of clothing and our hours spent with vanity?
It’s not God’s fault, but our own. He didn’t make us to run a treadmill of stress. We have to work for our food and basic needs. He kept it simple then and He still does!
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36)
Imagine the possibilities….
So – what do we do to get our bearings and begin again? I may shock you here by NOT saying go to more church or volunteer or work harder on meditation. No. That’ll add to your overwhelmed schedule and stress.
Get back to the basics! First, declutter your mind and time of waste THEN add what makes you happy.
1/ Get right with God. Admit your sins, Confess them, believe in Jesus Christ and the Almighty, the Holy Spirit within, the Trinity, start over with a clean slate with Him.
2/ Next, let the Holy Spirit lead to regain your son-ship with God – and some peace in life. (Again, nothing involving money or busy-ness here – just simplify.)
3/ Unplug multimedia devices – permanently
4/ Cut up the credit cards and learn to ‘make do’.
There it is – your wasted hours, distractions, and extra money to replace with fun things like outdoor recreation, trips, hobbies, dates with our spouse, volunteering, etc.
Look, I’m not a counselor, but I don’t need to be one to point out the obvious. If you are that stressed out and unhappy with the daily grind of life, then simplify and gradually make some changes. I didn’t charge you money for that, and neither did God. You don’t need a ton of expensive ‘how to peace-ify your life’ books, therapy, or loud churches to tell you that.