“Wisdom invites us to avoid extremes and learn to embrace the tension.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 4, 2021
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. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9, NKJV
You and I make daily choices that give shape and meaning to the details of our lives. We choose what we’ll eat, where we’ll go, and who we will see. Some of these moments may feel less like a choice and more like a duty or burden, such as taking your medicine or commuting to work, but there are plenty of other moments that we have true freedom to shape in a wide variety of ways. At times we are conscious of these decisions and make them with great intentionality, yet there are so many other moments in which we simply drift into mindless pursuits without any thought or purpose behind the choice.
How often do you turn to entertainment simply to escape? With the world at our fingertips, we scroll and tap our way into countless hours of distraction and mind-numbing escape. After a long day of work or study, we feel the need to shut down and recharge, letting someone else do all the work to stimulate your mind or move your heart, as you passively receive whatever comes your way.
Wisdom invites us to avoid extremes and learn to embrace the tension. Throwing all of your devices in the garbage is just as unhelpful as an uncritical embrace of every form of stimulation and entertainment. The removal of all temptation does not form virtue. Character is forged as we learn to see our broken desires and not run from them, but submit them to the way of the Lord and allow him to reshape them, and us in the process.
St. Paul in Philippians 4 lays out a beautiful vision for the Christian life, one defined by truth, justice, and goodness. Yet these virtues, this way of life, they do not grow passively and without effort on our part. Unlike the latest binge-worthy TV show, the way of virtue demands something of us, asking us to activate our minds and our wills. Paul says to mediate on these things (Philippians 4:8).
Meditation is the opposite of escape—it invites complete surrender to the ways of God through the active rejection of evil and the intentional pursuit of the good. This way of goodness is not simply a disembodied thought but is the aligning of our thoughts with the actions of our lives and the deepest desires of our hearts. Choose today to reclaim the margins of your day, using the time you’ve been given, not simply to escape or zone out, but to tune your heart and mind to that which is pure, true, and lovely.
Father, help us to live life in your goodness and love, seeking after you with all that we have, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Tonight, instead of escaping into your phone or TV, use the evening to instead read Paul’s letter to the Philippians from start to finish.
Chris Tomlin: Is He Worthy?
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