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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Run It Through the Filter First

All you coffee lovers out there are going to love this.  It's morning.  You stagger, bleary-eyed toward your favorite possession in all the world--the coffee pot.  Before you even reach the kitchen, the enticing smell of fresh coffee assaults your senses.  (God bless the person who invented the automatic timer.)  Your body responds to the call of the coffee by quickening its shuffle.  Your mouth waters as you pull a cup from the cabinet and turn toward the coffee pot.  But as soon as you begin to pour, you become acutely aware that something is desperately wrong.  Instead of a smooth, black liquid, your coffee resembles a dark, soup full of coffee grounds.  In desperation, you flip open the lid.  Sure enough, whoever made the coffee forgot the put the filter in.  You now have two choices:  (1) Drink the watery grounds,  or (2) Dump it out, and start again.  (Okay, maybe you coffee drinkers don't like this scenario after all.  I can feel your accusing stares coming at me from the computer screen.  I think I'd better move on to my point. . . while you're waiting for that second batch of coffee to brew.)

The world is full of filters.  There are water filters, air filters, oil filters, coffee filters and so on. defines a filter as "any substance, as cloth, paper, porous porcelain, or a layer of charcoal or sand, through which  liquid or gas is passed to remove suspended impurities or to recover solids."  To put it plainly, a filter removes the bad and leaves the good.

Unfortunately, one of the areas that is most in need of a filter is often the most neglected, left at the mercy of a myriad of impurities.  That area is the mind.  Think about how much information our minds process during any given day.  It's mind-boggling.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun!)  The awesome thing is that we don't really have to control our minds in most things.  It tells the body what to do and how to feel, and it pretty much does it on auto-pilot, just the way God designed it to work.  That's a blessing until we put our entire thought processes on auto-pilot too.  Do we have any idea how much junk goes through our minds on a daily basis?  Again, it's mind-boggling.  (Okay, sorry, I'll stop with the puns now.)

Fortunately, there is a filter for the mind, and it can be found in the word of God.  Philippians 4:8 tells us, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  What better filter for each and every thought that passes our way Let's try it out.

For the past couple of days, I've been suffering through another attack of my bursitis.  It's painful and inconvenient for it prevents me from getting things accomplished.  When I crawled out of bed this morning, the first thought that assaulted me was, I can't face the pain again today.  Let's run that through our filter.  Whatsoever things are true and honest.  I can't face the pain?  The Bible says that I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  So to say that I can't face the pain is not true.  I don't want to face it, but I know I can.

Every thought, no matter how big or small, no matter how innocent it may seem, needs to be run through the filter.  Otherwise, the result is a buildup of bitterness and resentment caused by a mountain of thoughts that shouldn't have been held onto to begin with.  They should have been filtered out as soon as we were aware of them.  Just as coffee drinkers don't want a cup of grounds swimming in a pool of blackened water (say "Amen" right there), neither should Christians want a mind jumbled with thoughts swimming in a pool of bitterness and regret.  It's time for us to start paying as much attention to what we think as we do to what we drink.

Okay, I'm done now.  You can go get that cup of coffee.  I know it's calling to you.  Just promise me one thing--you won't kill the person who forgot to put the filter in the first time.  We're only human after all!

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