Philippians 4:8 (NIV 1984) "Finally, brothers, 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."
"Mom, where are my jeans?" my middle son questioned. "They are in storage and probably somewhere way back in the unit," I replied. "What about my snow boots?" "Same place, honey. They are in storage too," I answered.
"Mom, where are my long sleeve shirts?" piped up, my oldest son. "They're in storage, son," I commented. "And my socks?" he asked. "I'll give you one guess," I responded. His face smirked as he rhetorically said, "In storage?" "Yep, that's right son. They are in storage, along with everything else."
"Mom, where's my brother?" questioned my oldest. "Well son, he's also in stor . . ." Just kidding, although I feel like putting him there on some days!
Five months ago we moved north to serve in a new ministry in the state of Washington. We anticipated our home selling sooner so we only packed a few changes of clothes. Some clothing boxes are close to the front of our storage unit, but many are not accessible. While we have made a few visits to Value Village, we are still living out of our suitcases.
This scenario with my boys reminds me of the items we keep in the storage unit of our hearts. There are good things that should stay. However, over time, we have no doubt accumulated enough boxes of garbage to furnish a landfill.
Some of our boxes may contain old wounds we nurse, or broken promises we grasp tightly to. Perhaps a crate in the back corner is stuffed with cutting remarks that continue to sting. Cartons of painful memories might be hidden behind a mask, crippling our need for progress. Another receptacle could overflow with doubt and fear, leaving us insecure.
It's time to clean out our storage unit of the pieces that render us ineffective and keep us from experiencing abundant life. Here are a few articles to consider unpacking:
- Unpack fear . . . store up faith.
- Unpack judgment . . . store up joy.
- Unpack covetousness . . . store up contentment.
- Unpack doubt . . . store up determination.
- Unpack confusion . . . store up confidence.
- Unpack grumbling . . . store up gratitude.
- Unpack complacency . . . store up compassion.
- Unpack bitterness . . . store up blessing.
- Unpack helplessness . . . store up hope.
- Unpack fury . . . store up forgiveness.
- Unpack haughtiness . . . store up humility.
In Philippians 4:8 Paul reinforces the kind of items we should store into our heart and mind. He tells us we are to dwell on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and anything that is excellent or praiseworthy. These characteristics certainly cannot get in us if we are not thinking on them. If we're not dwelling on them neither should we expect them to come out of us.
Often times I catch myself not meditating on what Paul describes. When I allow my mind and heart to fan the flame of frustration, hurt or discontent, I head into a downward spiral. God is teaching me to train my mind to discern between garbage and goodness. This discernment is directly connected to knowing His Word and filling my heart and mind with Paul's eight traits.
How we process hurt and struggles in life determines what we allow to occupy space in our mind and heart. It is necessary to unpack the lies, negative thinking and fleshly nature. We must rather, intentionally store up God's truth and teaching. By doing so, we become equipped with renewed perspective of how God desires for us to grow into maturity.
When our storage unit contains an abundance of boxes saturated with the right substance they enable us to live victorious Christian lives. When God's truth permeates our existence, these boxes are easy access for triumphant living. Any container we have that does not measure up to Philippians 4:8 needs to be taken out of storage and disposed.
What's in your storage unit?
Memorize Philippians 4:8. Ask God to make you acutely aware of what you allow to occupy space in your mind. Some habits are hard to change, but God makes it possible.
Reflect on this statement: " These characteristics (Phil. 4:8) certainly cannot get in us if we are not thinking on them. If we're not dwelling on them neither should we expect them to come out of us."
What do the boxes in your storage unit contain? What steps can you take to start unpacking the items that don't measure up to Philippians 4:8? Start repacking with God's truth.
What old hurts or hang-ups might be disabling you for further growth? How can emptying these boxes bring you victory?
Heart Changing Word:
Proverbs 23:7 (NASB) "For as a man thinks within himself, so he is . . ."
Romans 12:2 (NIV 1984) "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
2 Corinthians 10:5 "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:3 "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ."
Copyright 2012 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.