Do you ever feel overwhelmed with everything going on in the world? That was one of those rhetorical questions. If you are paying attention at all, you are probably overwhelmed!
If you are anything like me, then you waffle between wanting to know everything about everything and not wanting to know anything at all. I want to know as much as possible because I want to be informed. How can I possibly make good decisions without as much information as possible? But then, learning everything that I can MOSTLY by spending way too much time on social media, I become overwhelmed and depressed because of the sheer magnitude of the bad. So I go the other direction. I decide that I don’t want to know anything. While there is a temporary peace that comes with this, after all, “ignorance is bliss,” that peace is replaced with anxiety when I remember that I need to lead myself and my family in an upside-down culture.
Again, if you are anything like me, you understand where I’m coming from. So what should we do?
Thankfully, as with all things, the Bible gives us the direction we need. Check out these verses from the New Testament book of Philippians 4:7-8:
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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.”
With that in mind, I offer a few considerations for those of us living at a time with more available information than we can possibly, in a healthy way, process:
1. We do need to be informed. To take the approach that you are better off not knowing what is going on is, I believe, both ignorant and unbiblical.
A few verses:
Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
We need to know what is going on in the world that we live. We have been called to be an influence and a witness in this world, and we can’t do that if we don’t know what is going on. Stay informed.
2. Learn things so that you can do things.
Knowing for the sake of knowing, or worse yet, worrying, is not helpful. In fact, we are told not to be anxious for anything (Philippians 4:6). The goal of being informed is not simply for the sake of knowing. Learn what is happening so that you can prayerfully use that knowledge to act and respond in a Biblical manner. If you cannot do something with what you are learning, then perhaps it is better to move on to something else.
3. Understand the difference between gossip and helpful information.
The definition of gossip is: “Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true” (dictionary.com). If what is being said is not verifiable, that does not mean that it’s not true. It DOES mean that you need to verify its truth before acting. Anyone can say anything. And in today’s Social Media world, anyone can have an audience. That does not make what they are saying true.
A few more verses:
2Timothy 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
1John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
4. Spend most of your time on “These things” found in Philippians 4:8.
We are told in Galatians 5:22 that peace is produced by the Holy Spirit. In Philippians 4:7-8 we are told what the Holy Spirit uses in our lives to produce that fruit of peace:
“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.”
Things that are Just
Things that have a good reputation
Things worthy of praise
When we think on “These things”, we will experience peace in our lives. We need to seek knowledge so that we can live in this world. We need to THINK ON, MEDITATE ON, ALLOW TO PERMEATE THE MAJORITY OF OUR THOUGHTS, those things found in Philippians 4:8. Sadly, I think most of us get this backward. We MEDITATE on the chaos of our world (and fool ourselves into believing we are just staying informed) and simply visit the things we are told should consume our thoughts. And we wonder why we lack peace.
The world is and always has been a crazy place. We need to be informed so that we can act with wisdom and live in a way that reflects the Bible and who we are as Christians. We should not, however, let this fallen world consume us. Rather, we should be consumed with the Hope, and Peace (both produced by the Holy Spirit), that come from a life focused on God and His goodness.
Philippians 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.”
Think on “These things”.