Setting Up Camp

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

I am a realist. I don’t live in the land of denial. I don’t sugarcoat or pretend. I call things like I see them because like I said, I am a realist. And I firmly believe God created me that way, but there is a huge difference between being a realist and ruminating, meditating, and dwelling on things that steal my joy and my peace.

And so I regularly must ask myself, “Where am I setting camp? Where am I dwelling?”

Is it true? Is it noble (honorable)? Is it just (right)? Is it pure (holy, sacred)? Lovely (pleasing and agreeable)? Of good report? Does it have virtue (excellence) and is it praiseworthy?

It’s not multiple choice y’all. I don’t get to pick and choose to place my focus on a couple of these things while ignoring the rest. I think a lot of times we pick truth but stop there. We fail to ask ourselves if the truth upon which we’re dwelling is noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, filled with virtue, and praiseworthy. Is it worthy of our praise? Because, like it or not, we are giving our praise to that upon which we are dwelling. On the other hand, some of us camp in the land of denial, and we latch onto things that we feel are of “good report” not really caring if they’re true or not. But they all matter. You cannot pick and choose.

We live in a world and society that is constantly bombarding us with information and entertainment . . . some of it good . . . some of it not so much. There is literally no “off” switch in today’s society. We have a 24 hour news cycle, never ending social media streams, millions of websites full of information (both accurate and inaccurate) at our fingertips, and the opportunity to binge almost anything we want at anytime. You cannot, nor in many instances should you, shut it all out. It is not wrong to know what is happening in the world around us nor do I think it is wrong to enjoy watching a show or listening to a podcast (or whatever floats your proverbial boat). I don’t believe we’re called to live the existence of a recluse. But if we do not set limits then we will quickly find ourselves dwelling on (I’d even go so far as to say idolizing) these things.

News and information sites/shows . . . social media . . . public and political figures . . . streaming services . . . podcasts . . . pick your poison. Not all are bad. Some aren’t and serve a good purpose if used properly, but I’d venture that most of us dwell in places we should only visit, and it’s giving us everything but the peace of God. It’s stealing our joy and our peace and our ability to live in a way that honors and serves God because we’re giving praise and worship to all the wrong things.

We live in what may be one of the most mentally and emotionally unhealthy societies of all time. Even as Christians, it seems we are continually chasing peace, but it alludes us at every turn. We are constantly connected yet hugely disconnected. And while a number of things contribute to that, I think it can all be traced back to where we’re placing our time and attention . . . on that upon which we’re meditating and where we are choosing to dwell.

If we want the peace of God and the God of peace then we need to seek the face of God. We need to put Him at the top of our list. We need to dwell on His word, His character, His goodness, and His grace before we give anything else our time or attention. We need to start and end and walk throughout our day with Him. The world is going to throw things at us . . . good things . . . bad things . . . but ultimately it’s all just temporary noise trying to drown out the eternal . . . where our true focus should be.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Matthew 24:35

*On a very personal and practical note . . . one of my goals for the year was to reduce my time on social media which I did very well for quite some time. However, I realized over the past couple of months I've been slipping into spending more and more time on social media sites and mindlessly scrolling without really thinking about it, especially on Facebook. And the reality is, as my time on social media increases so does my lack peace. So I went into my settings and set limits for myself because I needed help with discipline and self control in that regard. Can I override those limits? Yes, but when the limits come up it stops me and makes me ask myself if I really need to be here in this moment, and 90% of the time it's a resounding "no" so I put down the phone and move on to real life whether that be spending time in prayer and reading my actual, not on my phone, bible or playing a game with my family or even taking care of things that need to be done around the house. I refuse to let technology steal my time or my peace. 
Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

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