NORTH MARSHALL MESSENGER
Vol 3, #1, November 1, 1998
Author: David Lemmons
File Under: CHRISTIAN LIVING or PHILIPPIANS 4:8
PHILIPPIANS 4:8–EPA for the HEART
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an independent agency of the federal government. It was established in 1970 to protect the nation’s environment from pollution. When the agency was created, it brought under its management the work previously done by 15 federal programs dealing with pollution. The idea behind this agency, of course, is to protect the environment in which we live from pollutants. Whether or not you think that many have carried this good idea to an extreme, its basic purpose seems quite good and praiseworthy. There have been some outstanding accomplishments in the improvement of the quality of water and air in our land. It is amazing what a little bit of attention to fighting pollution can accomplish.
We can thank God that in His great wisdom and in through the work of the Holy Spirit, there has been provided something similar to the EPA, only with regard to the mind of the Christian. In Philippians 4:8, the apostle Paul writes: Phil 4:8–“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.” Can we not and should we not allow this verse to GUIDE us toward unpolluted living?
Whenever we find ourselves in some situation or environment that causes our minds to dwell on some matter which contradicts things that are: TRUE; HONEST; JUST; PURE; LOVELY; OF GOOD REPORT; VIRTUOUS;
and PRAISE-WORTHY, then we would be wise immediately to remove ourselves from that environment or situation to avoid pollution. It could be VITAL to our souls.
Perhaps it might be some PLACE that we have allowed ourselves to visit. Such places as where worldly and lustful activities are being pursued: a gambling casino; a dance hall; a movie theater; a dark “parking place,” etc. If we are concerned to have an unpolluted mind, we will do whatever has to be done to remove ourselves from that PLACE.
Perhaps it might be simply WORDS that we allow to enter our minds. Words from such things as: CD’s; mp3 Players; TV; movies; magazines; the mouths of “friends,” religious error, etc. Using Philippians 4:8 as an EPA for the heart, we will recognize that allowing these words into our hearts pollutes our hearts. We will be repulsed by the prospect and will determine not to allow these pollutions to do their damage. And, by the way, there is such a thing as a “rating system” for Hollywood’s product. I have never understood how it is possible for Christians to think that there is some age we reach at which it becomes OK to take pollution into our hearts. We need to use as our rating standard, Matthew 18:3. In doing so, we will greatly limit our list of available movies.
Brethren, these matters that pollute our minds need to be a matter of much greater alarm and concern than the things which the governmental agency, EPA, watches after. I would like to urge that each one of us study carefully and apply diligently the EPA of the heart made available to each of us in Philippians 4:8. How much more influence we will have for good whenever we do. The consequences of our actions in this matter are ETERNAL in nature!