A thought by Dallas Willard (2014-02-01) from his book, Renovation of the Heart: PuttingOn the Character of Christ (p. 111). NavPress. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)
This is such an important principle for us to come to really understand.
Dallas says, “Our present American culture boasts of complete freedom in what one sees, says, and hears. Many professing Christians are paralyzed or even destroyed by adopting this ‘freedom’ as a lifestyle. For they allow images into their mind that eventually overwhelm them. If we allow everything access to our mind, we are simply asking to be kept in a state of mental turmoil or bondage. For nothing enters the mind without having an effect for good or evil. You may say, ‘I want to be open to think of anything, imagine anything, have all feelings, see everything. What do you think freedom of thought is all about? This is America!’ Well, then you must take the consequences.”
It is imperative to take control as much as we can of the images that we allow into our minds. Now I’m not one that wants to go back to the days of no television. I remember my dad talking about the first time he saw a TV. I also remember the first time I got on the internet. It is unbelievable what is on here. It opens up a whole new world of freedom but we need to be in control of this freedom not it in control of us.
Dallas goes on to say, “Images, in particular, are motivational far beyond our conscious mind, and they are not under rational control. We must take care that we are nourished constantly on good and godly ones, without necessarily being able to see and say what is wrong with the others. ‘What is wrong’ with them well may be something we cannot bring before our consciousness, but which works in the depths of our soul and body as an instrument of forces beyond ourselves.”
As Paul says in Philippians 4:8-9 (Msg), “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
So what images do you want to control you?