... you take it gratefully!
This morning, Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby took me to Philippians 4:8: 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.
The Blackabys wrote: What you think about in your unguarded moments reflects what your mind dwells on. What does your mind dwell on? What you give it. Fill your mind with filth and it will more likely spew filth than good things; fill it with good things and holy things and it will more likely give out good things than filth.
Confession #1: the past few weeks, I fell victim again to my old online haunts. To many people, I imagine many of the sites I visited weren't problematic; they were mostly humorous in nature, but some jokes/images were of an adult nature, and I knew in my heart that if I exposed myself to those materials, it wouldn't be long before my jokes would reflect it. Sure enough, I made a few jokes in the past few days that should not have come out of a Christian mouth.
It came to a head last night when I learned that my favorite 90s group, Wilson Phillips, was reuniting for a Christmas CD. In my excitement to share this good news, I kinda reverted back to a lot of the habits from which I turned away after I began my relationship with Jesus. I am not proud of the things I wrote on Facebook; I promptly erased or sanitized what I could, but in my heart, the damage was done.
The chapter of the What Matters Most for Men book I read followed up with astounding serendipity what I'd read in the Blackaby book: sexual purity. It dealt with the importance of avoiding temptation (one choice question: Is there a source of temptation in your life that needs to be starved? Certain TV channels of websites?); it also had a story on porn, which was my old-time nemesis back in the day. I knew if I kept this going, I would eventually stumble back into porn, and that was a non-negotiable that I had to stop.
In a nutshell, God revealed to me about two things that needed to change: 1) I needed to stop visiting these websites cold turkey; and 2) I needed to believe Him for total change of the way I carry myself. In a few weeks, I will be in an even greater position of influence, and I cannot compromise that mandate because of how I act.
How I act?
Confession #2: I have spent much, much time in prayer believing God would change habits, actions, and mannerisms in my heart and mind that would hinder me from serving Him to the best of my ability. I believe He is changing me for the better; we work our salvation out by His grace, day by day. A lot of this angst stems from my sometimes effeminate mannerisms and speech. Now that I will be in an even higher position of church leadership, it is even more imperative to me that these mannerisms stop; it will not benefit the church if they think less of their leaders, bias or no bias.
Last night, those accusations came hurtling back at me with the force of a tornado as I realized with horror what I'd written on Facebook. It was high school all over again, and I had put myself in that situation. I don't know what my wife must've been thinking as I celebrated the return of Chynna, Carnie, and Wendy, but bless her heart that she did not tear into me for that decidedly unmasculine celebration. I am so sorry, honey; won't happen again.
I am believing God that in the next few weeks, as I immerse in the culture of Victory Greenhills, He will work in my heart, mind, mouth, and body, that I will be exactly how God willed, intended, and created me to be: a mighty, powerful man whose heart, mind, soul, and body belongs to Him. He will surround me with godly men who will speak into my life and be good examples of fatherhood and manhood; He will afford me more time and opportunity to be with my wife and children so I can delight in those blessings, the blessings of truth and not self-doubt and lies. (Here are some truths: I am a son of God; I am a husband to a beautiful woman who loves me despite my idiocy; I am a father to a boy and girl who will grow up to be world-changers. I will not hold onto the lies that I was afforded when I was younger and unsaved.)
What a morning!
Listening to: Chris Tomlin, I Will Follow