Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4: 8-9 (NIV)
What’s inside of you? How did it get there? How do you change what’s there?
Think about this for a moment—if you were watching yourself from afar go through the day, and knowing yourself as you probably do—wouldn’t you be able to predict what your reaction and response would be to the situations you would face during the day?
Would you be pleased by your reactions and responses you observed for the day?
Our younger Granddaughter, Ellie Kate, refers to him as “her pastor.” She couldn’t believe that her daddy had his cell phone number. Pastor Ken Whitten, Senior Pastor at Exciting Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz (Tampa), Florida is a special servant of our God. He is also my pastor.
Ken made the comment not too long ago, regarding what’s inside of us, by reminding those listening that—
“What’s down in the well will come up in the bucket.” He’s got it.
I heard another great servant of God a few years ago share that what we put in our mouth usually is out of our system in a few days; but what we allow in our minds and hearts is embedded there for seven years or more. Not sure where they came up with seven years, although the number seven scripturally points to divine completeness, wholeness in God and perhaps that was the point—getting us to think about what God would honor with what we allowed into our minds and hearts.
Jesus talks about whatever comes out of our mouths, having its start rising out of our hearts. James, in talking about the tongue as a fire hard to tame, suggests that both fresh and salt water can’t come from the same source. Whatever is within us will determine what will come out.
I remain amazed that parents allow their children to watch television or movies clearly beyond their age as appropriate. I know for some of them, it’s often easier than fighting the peer pressure their child faces, or they need someone’s company to share a show or movie with. In either case, it goes down in the child’s “well” where it will stay, more often than not negatively impacting their life and their decisions—contrary to the priorities of God—for years.
Great coaches—and I don’t mean “great” by won-loss records—realize that the lives of the athletes who are on their teams were provided to them in sacred trust. Great parents, teachers and mentors realize that those entrusted to them, are created by God for a purpose. They also realize that along the way the circumstances of life may have caused, or could cause, what God intended to be in their “well” to have become polluted, replaced by things which aren’t God-honoring.
All great influencers of those lives who are entrusted to them are also great protectors, and as such not only want to protect those lives against further infusions of things which do not honor God, but they do not want to be one of those providing any potentially destructive pollution.
Great coaches, parents and mentors will seek to prevent the influx of such things, and also correct and remove those things, realizing that when something not God-honoring is removed it creates a void and something else will fill the void. Therefore, they seek to fill the space within, with God-honoring habits, traits and characteristics. As an aside, our two granddaughters have such great parents. Praise God.
On the journey toward one day filling that void with a relationship with Christ—which will permanently fill the well and lead us more and more to a mind and heart which thinks and acts upon the things which the Apostle Paul sets out in the passage above—great coaches, great mentors and great parents will seek to fill the well with core character qualities, lessons and regular exposure to things and situations which are God-honoring.
Remember something will fill every void within each of us. We can‘t correct, change and get rid of one thing without something else coming along to replace it. Where there is a void, things will rush to fill it. Something will fill the emptiness, the void within us. Sometimes good or bad—but it will be something.
Interestingly, though, it has appeared to be the case through the years that the voids within us always seem to be “Christ-shaped.”
Leading to this final thought—maybe we should make sure that Christ has filled that void within us, and then seek to encourage those we love, and those we have an opportunity to impact, to also allow Christ to fill that “Christ-shaped” void in their lives.
Just something to think about today and every day for the rest of our lives.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2015. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.