Philippians 4; Ezekiel 24; Isaiah 52
James reminds us that the tongue is rogue agent that is out of control. Perhaps the reason for that is that our thoughts are out of control. Rarely does our tongue say something without the thought being there in the first place. When people blurt things out “without thinking” usually that means that they weren’t thinking of the consequences; in reality, they didn’t filter what they were really thinking. Paul gives us the cure for this problem. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) It is the brain that processes the information that we get every second. Too often it’s easy to dwell on the negatives in life. Someone offends us; someone says something we disagree with; we are overcome with the evil in this world. So we begin focusing on the negatives in life. Our words become bitter and hateful. Paul reminds us to let our thoughts dwell on the positives. What is good in this creation of God? What positive things are happening? Focus on those good things; meditate on how God is dealing with our world through Jesus Christ; think about the beauty of Creation. There is a phrase that we should remember when we see the results of evil in our world. Paul uses it often after describing problems from his time: “But God.” Our God is rich in mercy and continues to show His love. He continues to renew His Creation. In the midst of the evil of this world, God continues to redeem people from their sin and restore relationships with them. We are a world undeserving of God’s grace and mercy, but God, being rich in mercy showed His love for us by sending His Son to take our punishment and restore right relationships with Him.
Lord, so often I dwell on the negatives in life. When I do, I become bitter and hateful. I become angry and vengeful. As I see the evil, that’s a natural reaction. Give me the strength and the grace not to dwell on the evil of life, but to focus on Your love, grace and forgiveness in the midst of evil.