Dwell

Our theme this week is “replacing our misplaced hopes with hope in Christ.”

Starting my leaf blower the first time each year is always a chore, but something felt different one year when I pulled the cord. I scratched my head and decided to just try a little harder. The engine coughed and a cloud of debris blew out onto the sidewalk. To my horror, a mama mouse and four babies tumbled to a stop, righted themselves, and scurried into the yard. It seems that during the winter they had taken up residence in the leaf blower.

I remembered this unsettling story when considering how dark thoughts or worries will set up shop in my head like a mouse family in winter, or an unwelcome catchy song. That annoying song won’t go away until my mind is occupied with something else. Here is some Biblical advice on how to replace the bad with the good:

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable - if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise - dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9 HCSB)

We must dwell on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. I know this is what I should do, but how can I get better at it? There is a good reason that the phrase “a mind of its own” indicates that something will do whatever it wants.

Let’s brainstorm ways to keep our minds focused where they should be. I did some (limited) research on tips to form good habits and came up with these ideas that may help you think of something that works for you:

  • Put a note on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror, or an object on your desk to remind you to pray.
  • Ask your smartphone or one of those digital assistant gadgets “every night at 7pm remind me to focus on whatever is honorable, just and pure.”
  • Keep the TV remote on top of a Bible or devotion book, then don’t turn the TV on the next day until you do some reading.
  • Listen to Christian music in the car, particularly at the end of your commute before walking in the door at work.

These are just a few ideas I could think of. What might work better for you? Jesus replaced us on the cross, so let’s not allow lesser things to replace Him in our hearts and minds.

By Mark Stuart

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