Think on These Things

Think on These Things

To mind the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5) and to possess the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), we must be vigilant about what enters our minds, absorbs our thoughts, and dominates our conversation. How can Christians set their minds on the things of the Spirit if we are always setting our minds on the things of the flesh? 

It’s astonishing what we often find ourselves thinking and talking about these days. Informal conversations at work, chatter in church hallways, and discussions around the dinner table explore subjects that, in former days, made people blush with embarrassment or recoil with shock. The moral revolution in the West, coupled with the modern media’s publication of one salacious headline after another, has profoundly affected our dialogue. It doesn’t help that many are addicted to twenty-four-hour news outlets, entertainment channels, and social media apps. The result is a growing desensitization to the degeneracy of our culture. Moreover, minds and conversations are cluttered with endless news stories of the wickedness and perversion of our time; what the Apostle Paul calls “the things of the flesh” (Rom. 8:5).

The latest headlines portray the essence of human depravity. News stories from this week include the grizzly murder of four University of Idaho students, Balenciaga’s deviant ad campaign exploiting small children, a gender-fluid (male) Biden Cabinet Member charged with a felony for stealing a woman’s suitcase, mass protests in China over oppressive totalitarian laws, seven thousand convicted sex offenders set free from prison in California, two children and three adults found dead in their home in an affluent Chicago suburb, and an NCAA division one college quarterback arrested for child porn.

These distressing headlines are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of stories posted and discussed daily (ad nauseam) on endless platforms. The news articles (which very often don’t qualify as real news!) range from repulsive to agonizing to ridiculous, and yet we continue to give them our undivided attention. We continue to take the clickbait. We continue to make the world’s deeds of darkness the center of our thoughts and conversation. Why is that?

Could it be that many of us have unwittingly allowed the outrageous headlines of the world to capture our primary focus and attention? Could it be that the glow of our screens and the news from our feeds have diverted us from things above, where Christ is, and drawn our hearts to the things of the earth (Col. 3:1-2)?

Shouldn’t We Stay Informed?

At this point, someone might ask: “But isn’t it important for Christians to stay informed?” The answer is a resounding YES. This isn’t a veiled appeal for a new monastic movement. We mustn’t bury our heads in the sand or ignore the moral drift of our culture. Loving one’s neighbor does not mean retreating from the world, but being salt and light in the world. Like the Sons of Issachar, it’s vital that we “understand the times” so that we can boldly and accurately apply God’s Word to our generation, not least to our covenant children (I Chron. 12:32).

Even so, being informed doesn’t require us to be news junkies who are forever refreshing our browsers for the next hit of salacious headlines. When we give ourselves primarily to the “news” of the world, we will inevitably give scant attention to the “things of the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1-11). And we must admit, it’s easy to fall into this trap. We want to stay informed, but not foolishly or obsessively so. Most of us know when we’ve crossed that line, and when it has negatively impacted our walk with God and our witness. We will be chiefly shaped by that which we give our attention to the most.

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