|Volume 17 Number 6 June 2015||
In our world, we are familiar with oil filters, air filters, transmission filters, heating/air conditioning filters, etc., which serve the purpose of keeping engines and other various mechanical parts clean and free from dirt and debris. These filters must be checked, maintained and replaced so equipment can function at its maximum capacity.
The Encarta Dictionary English (North America) on the Internet gives several definitions for the word “filter,” two of which are most appropriate for the purpose in this article. “1. To seep or pass through something that is intended to act as a barrier. 2. A straining device that allows the passage of some frequencies and blocks others.”
God’s Word Must Be the Filter for our Minds
On the back cover of his book, Making His Mind My Mind, J.J. Turner states by reading his book, we will learn “how to develop a biblically-conscious pattern of thinking and acting to make His mind our mind and reap the right kind of harvest. Everything we do begins in the mind. It makes us or breaks us.” He further asks these thought provoking questions: “To whom will we surrender the control of our minds? God? Satan? Self? Which? Proverbs 23:7 says, ‘As a man thinks in his heart so is he.’”
One’s mind is the ultimate control center. Psalm 119:10-11 declares, “With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” God views sin as an affront and offense.
Romans 12:1-2 reads, “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” What is acceptable to God in thought, word or deed is based upon His revealed Word and will.
Second Corinthians 10:4-5 records, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
We must choose to direct our minds into the deepest channels of reverence, respect and absolute obedience. As children of God, we must refute arguments, accumulated beliefs, theories, reasons, and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up or exalts itself against the knowledge of God! We must choose to think God’s thoughts and the thoughts of Christ rather than Satan’s thoughts or our own thoughts! This choice is a spiritual discipline that requires a complete meltdown of Me, Myself and I.
Dick Girard wrote When Your Back’s Against the Wall: Rejoice Anyway! He states that God is the source of all our knowledge. He wrote the mystery that had been hidden from past generations that Paul addresses in Colossians 1:26-27 had been made manifest because God willed to make it known. He continued by saying it was a mystery not because it was something we were unable to understand, but something that God had not yet revealed.
On pages 27-28 of his book he writes:
Jesus revealed God’s power and will! We have no other method for understanding God than the information He personally provides for us. No amount of human effort or determination would provide a single fragment of knowledge, one shred of helpful information, one glimpse of truth—unless God first allowed it to be known. All books of interpretation and speculation are but empty words from the pens of the arrogant without God’s revelation; they are simply additional fuel for the fires of confusion.
God’s Word Must Be the Filter for our Eyes
Who or what is seen is a trigger. Men are usually stimulated by what they see: a new car, a pretty woman, a magazine cover, a lot of money, etc. Women usually notice weight, age, clothes, shoes, homes, etc. The lists are virtually endless for both genders. Solomon expressed it this way: “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor” (Ecclesiastes 2:10). He states in verse 11 that when he looked on all the works of his hands, and all the labor in which he had toiled, it indeed was all vanity and grasping for the wind. Did we get that? Without God at the center, it all is nothing.
Jesus said in Luke 11:34, “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good [clear or healthy], your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad [evil or unhealthy], your body also is full of darkness.” Half the battle is being aware of where to look and where not to look. Psalm 101:2-3a says, “I will behave wisely in a perfect [blameless] way. Oh, when will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set nothing wicked [worthless] before my eyes.”
God’s Word Must Be the Filter for our Mouths
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). Meditation is that spiritual discipline that allows God’s Word to become one’s own conviction. Psalm 39:1 notes, “I said, ‘I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked are before me.’” Psalm 119:10 says, “Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me Your judgments.” Psalm 141:3 says, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Proverbs 21:23 records, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” In James 3:1-12, he boldly calls us out about the misuse of our mouths! Verses 9 and 10 are scathing with rebuke. “With it [the tongue] we bless our God and Father and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” Habitual, unguarded speech will result in eternal condemnation.
God’s Word Must Be the Filter for our Ears
We must guard our ears from filthy, abusive, cut-throat language through the various forms of media. We must also as much as possible guard our ears from this same kind of language, as well as from people’s outbursts of wrath, foolish disputes, and coarse and obscene jokes, etc. There are times when we will be taken totally off guard and become a most unwilling recipient of the foulness from the mouths of others. If we find ourselves in a situation where the language has become offensive, we must get up and get out!
When Jesus completed the Sermon on the Mount, He said in Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” Hearing and doing what the Lord has commanded is always His expectation.
When Jesus spoke the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-9), in verse 9 He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” In both Matthew 7 and 13, Jesus spoke of obedient listening, not merely the physical ability to discern sounds. He asked the Pharisees a most pointed question in John 8:43 and gave them the most direct answer. “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.” Modern day Pharisees are everywhere!
Jesus commanded John to write to the seven churches of Asia. John wrote to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:7a, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” This command was given to each of the seven churches. The Gospel Advocate Commentary on Revelation by John T. Hinds makes these observations on the text on page 38-39. “Those having ears to hear are willing to listen to the message. To such the invitation and exhortation was to give heed to what was said…Those who are not willing to hear God’s word will never learn his message of life. It also implies man’s ability to hear and understand what God says… Those not willing to hear and obey cannot be benefited by the Spirit’s work.”
The words of David in Psalm 119:57-60 are most fitting in summation. “You are my portion [inheritance], O LORD; I have said that I would keep your words. I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to Your word. I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies. I made haste, and did not delay to keep Your commandments.”