Philippians 4:8 (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
One of the great banes in our modern, connected society is the amount of noise that comes our way in terms of information through the many available sources we have from television, radio, and our phones. Everywhere we turn we are confronted with 24x7 news and noise. Just taking a walk through an airport exposes one to constant news coverage. Our phones are constantly connected to the endless stream of information and now there are apps that even allow us to select from multiple news sources and deliver to us the news we want to hear. Entire cable channels are given over to constant news, and one can now pick which particular spin they want to hear any time of the day or night.
Because of this, it is easy to become so addicted, and I used the term addicted with purpose, to the constant stream of information we lose sight of a lot of other things that are way more important. This was brought home to me a few months ago in the lead up to the 2020 election in which I found myself listening to one of the news channels some four to five hours a day. Of course, some of those times I was busy multitasking – but even then, I felt a sense of loss and confusion if my daily dose of news was diminished. If I missed my favorite news program, I would eagerly search for it on the internet so as to not miss anything.
That all changed on November 5, 2020, my “cold turkey” day, the day I checked myself into rehab, turned off the news, and adjusted to a new lifestyle without the constant barrage of information from my favorite cable news channels. I also deleted all the news apps I had on my iPhone and disconnected from all news sources on my computer. It was tough at first, not having that daily fix of information, but I found myself quickly adjusting to a new normal and have now felt over eight months of freedom.
As I look back, I wonder why it took me so long to do this. I find myself sleeping better at night, I no longer yell at the television and use words I shouldn’t. I haven’t missed anything important, and a sense of peace and tranquility has returned to my soul.
As I thought about this, Philippians 4:8 came to mind. In this verse Paul is telling us what we need to focus on in our thinking. One of the principles we find in the book of Proverbs is that what we think on will come out in our words and actions. We are told in Provers 4:23 to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” What we put into our heart, our innermost being, will come out in the way we live and do life. I found myself thinking and acting in directions I did not want to go last fall, and I traced it back to what I was putting into my heart. There is a computer saying, “garbage in, garbage out” and I found myself thinking and acting in “garbage” kinds of ways.
So, let’s look at Philippians 4:8 a bit here. The first thing we are to think on, and the one I want to focus on in this blog post, is we are to think on those things that are true. That is getting a lot tougher in todays society. News channels rarely give us the truth, rather they give us facts with spin. Everything is slanted to the right or left. I remember as a young child hearing the Huntley-Brinkley report in the evening. Chet Huntley and David Brinkley would recount the events of the day, and for the most part, it was objective news. Now compare that to MSNBC or CNN just to name a couple of the major culprits. There every piece of news is slanted so that objective truth is drowned out by the opinion and political leanings of the news anchors. By the way, this is true of all the cable news organizations and most all the news sites on the web. In fact, I challenge you to find a single cable news channel that objectively reports the truth!
So where do we find objective truth? Not on the news channels, and certainly not on the internet (although we are told everything on the internet is true!)
The only place where one can really find out what is true is the Word of God. In the pages of holy Scripture God has revealed what is true and yet many believers don’t pursue it. We would rather hear what tickles our ears from our favorite news programs or web sites. God is true, and in fact He is the only one who is completely true in the universe. You won’t find eternal truth on The View or any secular news source – they are the ones mocking God and His word. Only in the Bible will you find where you came from, why you are here, and where you are going. Only in the Bible will you find those principles that bring peace and joy in life. And only in the Bible will you find how to be restored to a right relationship with your Creator.
God wants us to think on that which is true.
So, ask yourself, from where are you getting your truth?