Food for Friday

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

One of the men who helped to shepherd me when I was a young Christian offered me some good advice for the place where I worked. Some of the other people who worked there had calendars and other pictures on the walls, featuring immoral things. The other brother advised me to stay away from the areas where those pictures were displayed, and to have some good pictures (they wouldn’t have tolerated Gospel texts) displayed in the area where I worked. It’s difficult, he explained to me, to keep our minds pure when we expose ourselves to the fleshly lusts that the world enjoys. His advice, to replace the immoral pictures with good pictures, is in line with today’s admonition to think on whatsoever things are pure.

When it comes to purity, the Lord Jesus is not only our ideal example, He is also the ideal target for our thoughts. As an example, Jesus shows us throughout His life and ministry the character of God. His life was marked by holiness and purity in all that He did and said. But He did something that you and I should practice, to enable us to maintain purity in our lives, our words, and our very thoughts: Jesus spent much time in prayer. He was in constant communication with His Heavenly Father. This included times when He would spend the night on the mountainside in prayer. It should be noted that prayer and purity are closely related; praying saints will be pure saints. If our minds are taken up with our communion with God, we won’t have room in our thoughts for impurity.

As the target for our thoughts, Jesus will lead us in a pure pathway. As we read of Him, as we contemplate Him, as we study His person and His work, our minds cannot be distracted by those things around us. We know that the world is becoming more immoral, that gross sins are not only practiced openly and are accepted, but they are also flaunted, promoted, and praised. It can be difficult for us living in such an environment to maintain purity of thought. But it is possible.

The translation of an old German hymn tells us that ‘Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer, He makes our sorrowing spirits sing’. He should lead our thoughts today into all things pure. -Jim MacIntosh

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