Monday: The Mind’s Filters
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There are some parents who are so concerned about their children’s Internet viewing habits that they have installed filters to block out certain sites.

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

Others have done something similar with television. The purpose of these “electronic filters” is to let some things in while keeping others out. God has provided a “spiritual filter” for our minds. It has been carefully crafted to allow only those things into our minds that will build our spiritual experience with Jesus.

What practical instruction does Paul give to his fellow Christians as a filter designed to guard their minds from the intoxicating influences of evil? How does this counsel apply today to our viewing habits on television, the Internet, and DVDs? Phil. 4:7-8Rom. 12:2.

Here is one simple reality. It is not possible to develop deeply spiritual thoughts if we feed our minds on violence, immorality, greed, and materialism. Our senses are the gateway to our minds. If our minds are bombarded with the stimulating scenes of Hollywood’s entertainment, they will be molded by these sensual experiences rather than by the principles of God’s Word. Multiple millions of dollars are spent by media producers to manipulate our emotions, condition our thinking, and shape our values. We can be assured that the basic question that these entertainment gurus ask is not, “How can these productions prepare people for the soon return of Jesus?” The bottom line that motivates them the most is money. Seventh-day Adventist Christians preparing for the Second Coming of Christ should reflect carefully before sacrificing their souls on the altar of the world’s entertainment.

There is a great cathedral in Milan, Italy, with three large wooden entrance doors. Etched above the left-hand door are these words: “All that pleases is for a moment.” Over the right-hand door, these words stand out in bold relief: “All that troubles is but for a moment.” And emblazoned in bold letters over the center door is this poignant phrase: “That alone endures which is eternal.” Ask yourself: How often do you think about what’s eternal? How do your choices reflect those thoughts?

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Monday: The Mind’s Filters — 26 Comments

  1. This is esthetic thinking that we can withdraw from experience of world. That way is proven to be bad.

    Sin comes from within and if we were owners of Hollywood and do movies that prepare people for Jesus coming that will have no effect on us growing in Jesus.

    Those with carnal heart looking for entertainment will find it even in church activities. On the other hand Jesus crucifixion was entertainment and one with violence. World created cross and Jesus suffering. World liked it but mercy and craziness of God changed that idiotic rite in our salvation.

    Like(4)
    • Goran, the way I see it is that it is a matter of whether we feed the old man of sin or the new man of righteousness:

      if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:21-24 NKJV; see also Col 3:9-10)

      It is our choice whether we willfully live as the world does or we live in it but not of it (Jn 17:13-16). Throughout the entire New Testament we are called to strive to be Christ-like, to aim for righteousness and shun sin. We often fail, that is true, but we are to fight the good fight just as Paul did (2 Tim 4:7) and get back up after failure and fight again. And that is where looking to Jesus helps; it is a matter of reinforcing the good and starving the bad. We are supposed to be training for Heaven so why not live like we actually are instead of giving in to our sinful natures all the time.

      Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (1 Cor. 9:24-27 NLT)

      Like(11)
    • Goran, the idea is not to withdraw from the world. But the idea is to avoid the "experiences of the world" that focus on self and even immorality. That has not "proven to be bad." It's the only way we can walk with Jesus.

      Jesus was in the world, but He avoided the evil in the world. If He were here today, how much time do you think He would spend watching TV? How many movies would He watch in a month? How much time would He spend on electronic games?

      If He would not spend the time, why wouldn't He?

      What reasons do we have to spend/not spend our time that way?

      Like(3)
  2. In this day and time, children are not the only ones who need a filter when it comes to television viewing and Internet surfing. If children can't watch a program why should we as adults? We shield them from vulgar language, profanity, nudity and etc., seems to me we need the very same filter.

    My prayer is that God would help me to be more cautious about my television viewing, reading material and etc.

    Like(41)
  3. It is very true that whatever we view or read in the media has shaped our thought and most of them have corrupted our minds and we live it.Let us be vigilant and do away with negative stuffs.

    Like(18)
  4. One way to keep your mind eternal is to get envolved with church activities. Pathfinders, evangilism, part time Bible worker, ADRA, local church welfair, soup kitchens, mind healthy activies with the family, arts and crafts, study of God's cridders, gardening, digging two hundred foot wells for people, putting up schools and churches in one day...Read your Bible in multiple versions, read other religious things, giving the mind extra exercise by compairing the authinticity to the Bible, watching religious tv, and dvd, going to religious music festivals, put sermons in your ipod, putting the whole Bible in your mp4 player, you can get a mp4 player with 8giga bytes diectly from Hong Kong for $15 dollars. Participate in ss and church blogs and forums, keeping them up lifting. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring you other creative things to keep your mind eternal.

    Like(27)
  5. Paul's filter still works today in modern society. The bombardment from the media is devastating. When we read and study the Bible it will filter all the defiling material and protect our minds. Reading God's word will keep the mind pure and holy (Philippians 4: 7-8). Romans 12:2 asks Christians not to conform to this world and its ways, and to being transformed in our minds. Fallen human beings need a transformation from the sinful natures inherited from fall into holy spiritual natures. If a person is going to be re-created into the image of God he/she needs to be very careful of what they feed their minds. God wants us to build a strong relationship with him and to know his will everyday. A worldly mind will not understand holy things, and God wants us to know him and his will.

    Like(12)
    • Frank, after reading Fridays lesson today I was woundering what you think of the following opinion of the authors.
      If we are honest, we can read and claim all the Bible promises we want, but unless we make a conscious choice at the moment of temptation to set our minds on the things that we should, we will succumb to temptation.

      Like(1)
  6. Two forces that a Christian is wrestling with. Let us be wise in our choice of the force we are inclined to. God has a wonderful plan for us, salvation; free!!. Let us not brainwash ourselves that we cannot avoid these things because we live in the age of modern technology where it's all polluted with untoward staff either on tv, internet or otherwise, we ought to remember that by beholding we become changed. We deliberately tune our minds either in conversations with friends, or what we allow ours eyes entertained with. Let's be watchful!! The devils traps

    Like(5)
  7. [Moderator's Note: Please us full names when commenting. Thank you. ]

    If we are preparing for the return of Jesus we need to be constantly following the basis instructions before leaving earth which is the BIBLE

    Like(2)
  8. The mind is fluid therefore what we see, hear,read records just like a recording machine. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and the things of this earth will grow strangly dim in the light of His glory and grace Amen!
    I am 84 years old and have taken on the cradleroll, kindgerden, primary
    sabbath school classes. The love of God constrains me!

    Like(9)
  9. For much of my life I have been involved in college-level education and during the last few years I managed an on-line education delivery system called Moodle for the college where I taught. Every year I would attend a conference of Moodle users from all over Australia and New Zealand where we would exchange ideas on using Moodle. At a recent conference there was a lot of discussion about course materials that are freely available on the Internet and we discussed the issues and challenges that such material gave us. I remember in one of the discussions, a professor from one of the big Australian universities asking what the role of a university should be if anyone could go to the internet to gain their education. There was some general agreement that to some extent universities would seem redundant, particularly to students who have to pay for their education when so much information was available free on demand.

    I suggested in this discussion that there was an important role that had been overlooked. The universities needed to teach students how to detect crap! (Am I allowed to say that outside Australia on a Christian blog?) While there is a lot of good information on the Internet, sieving the good material from the bad is difficult and universities had a role in teaching students how to sieve the good from the bad themselves.

    I am going to suggest that the issue is the same for Christians. We are presented with so much material every day that we need a “crap detector” for our minds to ensure that what we actually put in out minds is important to well-being and ultimately our salvation. We used to think we achieved that by saying things like “Don’t go to movie theatres and don’t read this and that …” but the reality is that creating a list of don’ts does not work. There is always something new that needs to be proscribed. Notice that in the discussion on education I said that the universities should teach the students how to sieve the available materials. I did not say that the universities should act as sieves. There is an important difference. Students are only at university for 3-5 years and sieving is a life skill.

    We, that is to say, the Church has been good at providing us with lists of proscribed activities, but we have been less than diligent in putting the emphasis on developing our skills in determining for ourselves that which contributes to the well-being of our minds.

    Finally, the best defense against “crap” is to develop an appetite for that which is wholesome.

    Like(8)
    • Appreciate your comment, Maurice, but something a bit unrelated came to my mind when you reported on discussing the role of teachers when information is so freely available.

      I think we miss the importance of personal influence - the sharpening of mind with mind, especially in a real face-to-face situation. Good teachers make themselves a bit vulnerable, so students feel they know them at least a little. When students respect a teacher, that teacher has a great deal of lasting impact - far more than any teacher on a web site could possibly have.

      But maybe this isn't too far off the topic after all. The gospel, including the Adventist message, is being broadcast via cable TV, satellite TV, the internet, the radio, etc. So what is our role in the "great commission" in this electronic age? I submit that it is the similar to the importance of a real-life teacher in the classroom. People need to see the gospel demonstrated in our own lives, and when they do, they will listen to us.

      Now I'm not sure how this relates to this specific lesson. ;) Can anyone else make a connection?

      H'mm ... just thought of this: When we are focused on spreading the Good News, that "filter" is really all we need.

      Like(5)
      • Inge, your comment reminds me of a concept brought out by Mark Findley in his book, Persuasion. He pointed out the importance of the method and the messenger for delivering a message. For a message to be most effectively delivered, the messenger and the method of delivery must harmonize with the message. Granted, God can work through imperfect "earthen vessels." But if the hearer perceives that the messenger doesn't follow his own message (i.e. really believe what he says), the hearer will have a harder time receiving that messenger's message.

        Like(0)
  10. Great lesson. As SDA's we should include Jesus in everything we do not just on Sabbath but everyday on the week and in everything we do. That is if we all aiming to go to Heaven.

    Like(7)
  11. [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting. Thank you.]

    I totally agree with most of the comments. The 'GIGO' method is so true. Whatever we put in, that's what will come out. However, we must be careful not to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. Whatever ourchoice of conversations and entertainment, if Jesus can't be a part of it then its not right for us. Remember the Devil is here to deceive and make us believe a lie. He's still that subtle creature that tricked Eve in the beginning. Our best filter is to fixed our minds on spiritual things as taught in the Holy Scriptures.

    Like(1)
  12. Look our church services today. There is a lot of miny skirts and free behavior. Can we filter our mind not to look with whom we worshiping twogether?

    Like(0)
    • Goran, we need to go back to Inge's thought and apply it to thoughts of judgementalism. When we think of "filter" all we need to know is: Spreading the Good News is the best filter.

      Like(1)
  13. Hi Goran,
    The mini-skirt and youth behaviour used to bother me a bit too but then I got to know some of the young people. I am quite excited that these folk are coming to church and participating. And when you listen to what they are saying, many of them echo the same sorts of questions that I used to have when I was their age. True they have a bit of growing up to do, but I have found that these folk desperately need the knowledge that they are loved by the older folk in the church. I can remember my arrogant stupidity (and the fluorescent orange socks!) when I was a youth and remember the tolerant understanding of older folk who nurtured me in the faith. It did not seem to bother them that I thought that I knew everything.

    Some of them spent time encouraging me to work with technology and photography. I remember the casual conversations of a Pastor as he taught me the art and technology of photography. Such experiences are the life-blood of our growing church and we need to recognise how important it is. I grew up and grew into the faith with the nurture of wise older Christians. I hope I am repaying them now that I am older.

    Like(6)
    • My point was that to Filter what we see or hear or read is old and bygone talking when we have all that in live on church worship. That does bother me but those talking about Filters is boredom.

      Like(1)
  14. [Please be sure to add your full name when submitting comments on this blog as explained in the Comment Guidelines. Thank you.]

    lets commit Goran bosanac in to serious prayers, only Christ can give him a willing heart to learn and understand. no matter how far we are from God, we shall always be His either by creation or redemption. remember this air we breath we don't pay. better people have died who are we to contradict and question God's word. david asked God that 'who is man that you are mindful of?' we are but vapour. lets keep our minds clean.

    people in business pay billions of money just to show a 2 or 3 second advert for they know that it will create great impact on our minds. what about watching a film for hours? how much more can one be influenced? even our friends are able to influence us by their words and action. let us not awaken the evils within us by feeding them with evils from without but die within daily by the grace of God until we reach the standard of God. if we discover a weakness in us lets pray that God strengthens us and not to nourish it with filthy things.

    Like(3)
  15. I wonder why memorization of the Bible has not come up in the context of filtering. Jesus' example would lead us to memorize God's Word. Consider how many times He answered a temptation or a question with "It is written..." or "What do you read in the scriptures?" He could quote it because He had memorized it. And because God's power is in His Word, I've found this to be true: "Your Word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You." (Psalm 119:11) A growing number of people is memorizing Scripture. I urge as many as desire to grow in God's grace to join this movement.

    Like(1)
  16. "Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right spirit with in me" Psalms 51:10. That is kind of commanding God, just the same memorize it. Being a teacher of friend, explorer, or guide in pathfinders is a good way to get back into memorization. Pick a string of verses and know the context, such as Zechariah 8:23, 1 Timothy 1:19, Hebrews 4:14, Revelation 3:11. All say hold on. Hold on to His sleve, hold on to your faith, hold on to your convictions, hold on to your crown. 1 Thes 5:24 Says, in essence, God is faithful and will do it.

    Like(0)

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