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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

What Are You Listening To?

"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." - Proverbs 4:23 NLT

My husband, Joe, and I were spending the day cleaning house one weekend, when he put on some music we used to enjoy when we first met many years ago. When I heard it, I froze in my tracks. The lyrics were offensive to me, and I scolded my husband, and demanded that he turn it off immediately. As I resumed my cleaning, the realization that I had loved that music in years past sickened me. How could I have listened to - and actually enjoyed - such dark, depressing, and degrading music? How it must have grieved the Lord's heart when I devoted my attention to it the way I did.

I began to hear the apostle Paul's words in my head, saying, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:8 NASB) Paul knew that what we listen to goes into our spirits and becomes part of us, often forever. That's one reason why the Bible says, "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life." (Proverbs 4:23 AMP) What we allow into our hearts through our eyes and ears will affect our health and well-being. When you are suffering in your mind or body, ask the Lord if something you are watching or listening to is doing you harm in some way. There have been times when I started to watch a movie or TV program, and the Spirit of God gave me a "check" in my spirit to basically let me know, "This isn't good for you." Then I have had to back off and make the decision to change my viewing habits.

This past Valentine's Day, my husband, Joe, presented me with a device that allows me to access millions of songs of all types, from many decades. When I discovered that I could give a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to every song it played, I realized that I was going to approve very few songs for my listening pleasure. Even many songs that I had loved listening to in the past now make me cringe and repulse me. Why? Because now I am very sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading, and I long to obey Him in every area of my life. Scripture says that we can "quench" and even "grieve" the Holy Spirit by the way we live. (1 Thessalonians 5:19 NASB; Ephesians 4:30 NIV) Paul tells us: "Don't grieve God. Don't break His heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for Himself. Don't take such a gift for granted." (Ephesians 4:30 MSG)

You and I have a high calling from God on our lives, and we can't afford to compromise our walk with Him in the name of "entertainment." The apostle Peter wrote: "You must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, 'You must be holy because I am holy.'" (1 Peter 1:14-16 NLT) Don't be fooled into thinking that you can live like the rest of the world and still be welcomed into God's kingdom after you leave this earth. The truth is that "without holiness, no one will see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14 NIV)

We simply cannot "dwell on" the things of God, or the good things in life, if we are feeding and programming our hearts and minds with worldly thoughts and ideas. Filling ourselves wrongly will steal our peace and joy, and it will make it hard for us to hear God's voice, and to receive from Him. Ask yourself today, "How serious am I about receiving God's best, and becoming all that He created me to be?"

Prayer: Lord, I regret the times that I have lived like the rest of the world and compromised my relationship with You. Teach me how to live the holy life that You have called me to, so that I can experience the extraordinary plans and purposes You have for me. Work in my heart and mind so that I will be repulsed by ungodly TV, films, books, and other forms of media and entertainment. Remind me often that what gets into my eyes and ears can seriously affect my heart and my health. Thank You that as I choose to walk and live Your way, I will be able to live the good life You have in store for me!

- J. M. Farro


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