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. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
It's summer time and, depending on what part of the country you live in, a cool thought might help relieve the heat.
To help you out, I'd like you to think back to the times you've watched icicles being formed, one drop at a time. Yes, it's possible you live in a place where icicles never form. If so, think of the ice palace from Dr. Zhivago.
Now this exploration into a wintertime memory is not without purpose. Think for a moment and you will agree -- if the water, which forms the icicle, is pure, then the icicle is also clean and clear. It will sparkle brightly as the sun bursts through it.
On the other hand, if the water, which is the icicle's water source, is tainted, the icicle itself will be cloudy, murky, and its beauty will be marred.
I think there's a lesson for us to learn from that.
While it is true, we are, upon occasion, shaped by large decisions and trials, most of the time we are formed like an icicle: drop by drop and small event by small event. If the things that surround us and to which we expose ourselves are foul and contaminated, then our lives and our witness to the Savior will never be as clear and beautiful as the Lord had planned for us.
That is why St. Paul urged the believers in Philippi -- and us -- to think upon that which is honest, just, lovely, and pure. He knew if we surrounded ourselves with the virtues of the Lord, if we constantly think about the goodness and grace of God, we would have a peace -- a joy in Jesus that the world can never know.
Indeed, if we avoid the evil and think upon that which is good, our lives will make a better, a purer witness for Jesus who gave His life for our salvation.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear God, create in me a new heart, a clean heart, a saved heart. Help me avoid that which is evil and be composed of all that is good and comes from You. Turn me into a clear reflection of the love and grace I have received from the Savior's sacrifice. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries