There’s a phrase that I was taught, (and most others as well) as a young teen.
“Garbage in – Garbage out”
The lesson in the phrase says what we put into something is what we should expect to come out. That’s true of many things in life. Let’s go back to the auto analogy. If I put contaminated fuel into my gas tank, I can reasonably expect my car to run like it has contaminated fuel. And if I cook with contaminated food, I can also reasonably expect sick people after consuming my dinner.
When a system is cleared of the garbage that was put in it, it can begin to operate normally. Once the fuel system of a vehicle is purged of the contaminated fuel and filled with good fuel, the vehicle will run great! The same applies with contaminated food. Once our bodies purge (and I’ll not mention the details of how this happens) the contaminated food and we begin filing our bodies with healthy food, we can expect the internal workings of our bodies function as they should.
The problem, however, with both of these as analogies, is that the garbage that was put in can be removed leaving no trace behind. Unfortunately that process doesn’t work with what we allow into our minds and hearts.
God forgives and God forgets, but we have an adversary that seeks to use against us what we put into our memory banks. And unlike a computer’s memory, ours can’t be formatted.
Enter the Spirit-Filtered life.
Paul writes in Philippians
Philippians. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (NASB)
And also writes in Corinthians
2 Corinthians 10:5 [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) (Amplified)
The Holy Spirit dwells in us, looking to Christ as the blueprint of what we are to become. Being Spirit-Filtered, then, means leading every thought to Him and running it through Him as a filter. It’s asking questions such as:
Is this a thought that belongs? Does it go against what Christ taught?
- Is what I am currently putting into my mind true?
- Is it honorable?
- Is it right?
- Is it pure?
- Is it lovely?
- Is it of good repute (worthy of praise, generally well thought of)?
It’s also leading the inputs that come into our minds through His filter first. And if the input is set against the true knowledge of God, we take it captive under the authority of Christ.
What are the inputs? That’s really a dumb question! Simply turn on the TV, the radio, or the computer. Hit the web and open up Facebook. Turn on the latest show on NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX. I’m not picking on one network, they all air ok entertainment but also some really evil stuff.
What’s scary is we end up allowing in more than what we ought to. On the surface it appears innocuous. And after prolonged exposure, whatever it is we are allowing in becomes the norm and we swallow it easier. But has it been examined closer? Has it been scratched to see what’s underneath? Dross is what is skimmed off when silver is refined. Often it was used in Hebrew times to cover as a cheap glaze on a pot. The pot could be made to look wonderful on the outside, but there was something hidden underneath and all someone had to do was scratch the surface to see that what first appeared beautiful was quite the opposite underneath.
Much of what we allow in may seem ok on the surface, but without a discerning filter, we might be letting in something hidden. We control what goes into our minds and what we dwell on. We aren’t able to control what thoughts we have, but we absolutely have the authority to chose whether or not to dwell on those thoughts.
Where are your thoughts landing lately? Where do you dwell?
What we allow into our hearts and minds, what thoughts we dwell on each become another event cataloged and filed in our memory and directly affect what comes out of us. That’s why it is so important for us to be ever so mindful of what we allow to come into our minds. The things we read on the web as we stroll through the timeline of Facebook, the movies and TV shows we watch, the music we listen to, the books and magazines we read, and even conversations we choose to participate in all become inputs that determine what we output.
What we allow entrance to our mind through our eyes and ears determines what comes out of us – through our actions, and through our speech.