Philippians 4:8 Challenge

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

               There are so, so many temptations in this world and, especially attending a public school, marching forward on the “straight and narrow” with eyes constantly turned to Jesus can be difficult and daunting task.

                Lately, I've talked so much about keeping our desires in heavenly places, always drawing near to God and never straying from His embrace. It’s harder than it sounds, though. In the US especially, there are so many distractions available to us. Gossip is a constant problem in not only high school, but also in the celebrity world. Humans are naturally nosy, I think, and we always think we need to know others’ business.

                You all know I've been struggling with this; I’m not going to hide my weaknesses for the sake of looking strong. And as I sat in geometry today, laughing at a cruel and inappropriate  joke made about someone, I scolded myself and beat myself up, telling myself that I would never be good enough to shine the light of Christ to others. I sat and pondered how I could somehow get myself back on track, and I realized that I, by myself, cannot. I need help. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have strayed off course in the first place. I gave up inside, not even breathing a prayer of submission and helplessness. God brought a verse to my mind, though, somewhere in the middle of talking about the arcs of circles:

“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 these things” (Philippians 4:8).

                I then noticed the distractions around me: the gossip, the jokes, the bad language, and bad music. I thought I had practiced well the art of being in the world but not of it; I was confident of that area of my life. At that moment I realized, though, there are so manythings I consume myself with that are not true, noble, or right. I so often make mountains out of molehills and molehills out of mountains. My perspective lately has been completely off track. I knew I needed to focus on God more; I knew I was too consumed with worldly things, but I had no idea how to deal with it.

                Today in geometry, though, I realized I had to do something: starting right now, I am officially starting The Philippians 4:8 Challenge. ( I don’t know if that’s already a thing, and if it isn’t, I guess I just made it up.) Anything that isn’t true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable, I will be “removing” from my life. If there’s a song, movie, or book that involves bad morals, I won’t be listening to it, watching it, or reading it. If someone at school makes a cruel joke about someone or talks about something inappropriate, I won’t join the fun. I’m not doing this because I think I’m better than everyone else; I’m doing this because this is what I need to do.  

                Instead, I will be focusing on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, not only including what Jesus has done for me, but also the selfless acts of others or a hard-earned good grade. I will try to "never tire in doing what is good" (2 Thessalonians 3:13). By doing this, I will try and point others to Christ in every way possible. Of course, this can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit inside of me; I can in no way succeed on my own. I know there will be times when I cave, but I am hoping that I will again see that what God has for me in this life and in eternity is indeed better than what the world offers. I will draw near to Him and rest in His embrace, rejoicing in the fact that the fight for my soul has already been won.

                There is not a time limit to this challenge because it is something that I hope will go on for the rest of my life. I hope that you all can see the difference in my life as I pursue this challenge, and I hope I can be an encouragement to you in your walk with God.

                I’ll leave you with these words from Psalms chapter 73 and verse 28:

“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge:  I will tell of all Your deeds.”

1 comment:

  1. Oh how I needed this reminder today, and how truly encouraging it was.
    I also attend a public high school, and the temptation to gossip and how easily we get off track.
    But I love what you said, " I realized that I, by myself, cannot."
    A lot of times I say, "I'm being such a horrible light", or I get so mad at myself for not ignoring the distractions that are trying to capture my attention, and I forget that I cannot do anything on my own.
    Thanks so much for this reminder today, and for being so honest! I know it's hard to show weakness when we all want to look so strong and put together (at least I do a lot of times!)!


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