So I finished Philippians today. I was going to finish it yesterday. I wanted to. It took much self-control on my part to stop at the end of chapter 2. It’s all so….good, uplifting, encouraging. Even though Paul is in prison his words just exude confidence, peace, joy…..all of those things he writes about so I guess that makes sense.
My focus verse…..how to choose just one? First, Phil. 4:2 catches my attention because of the mention of two females in the church, “I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.” Now, you would think this verse would capture my attention because it appears they have been in a heated disagreement and Paul is calling them out to get along. But no…..it’s my feminist that is awakened….by the idea that in this time period two women are important enough to be mentioned in Paul’s writing and are members of the church. Mind you, they aren’t mentioned to be praised, but regardless, it captures my attention.
The next verse that I focus on is Phil. 4:8. I love this one. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” That’s quite a standard. What I post and read on facebook, what I post and read in my blog, what I text to others, what I watch on television, what music I listen to, what books I read, what conversations I have……are these true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, worthy of praise? Is how I spend my money true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise? Yikes. Everything? Every little decision I make?
I had a friend once who every time he ate garlic, he began to smell of garlic. Seriously, it came out of his pores. And he loved garlic. Oh, did he love garlic. He thought if he had just a little garlic….like one piece of garlic bread, that wouldn’t be too bad. Nope…he became garlic man. He attempted to just have spaghetti sauce that had some garlic powder…..nothing else. Surely, he could just have a little dried and powdered garlic. What’s a 1/4 tsp in an entire pot of spaghetti sauce? Next morning…..garlic man. Fresh garlic, powdered garlic, simply rubbing a clove on bread — nothing else. No matter how little or how much, garlic man.
I think it’s like that with the messages we use to fill our heads. A little violence, a little hate, a little lust, a little of anything…..and it’s there. In our heads. We can’t get rid of it. We may not become a mass murdered, but even that little bit makes an impression that shapes us. We cannot be mindless drones that suck up the endless messages and entertainment that surrounds us. We have to be critical thinkers of the messages we see everyday. Why do we accept seeing others’ hurts, pains, shame as entertainment? Why do we believe those who gossip to us will not gossip about us? Why are we not discerning about the negativity friends can bring into our lives?
Just like my friend who always smelled like garlic no matter how little he took in, we reflect the messages we take into our lives….no matter how little or harmless they seem.