“Garbage in, garbage out!” I’m sure most of us have not only heard that phrase before, but, most likely, we’ve used it ourselves. Whatever we take into our minds will likely come out of our mouths or be in our actions in some way. This is illustrated with the increased sales in tennis rackets whenever Wimbledon is televised or the increase in participants at health clubs right after the summer Olympics are televised.
Certainly, we would not classify such things as “garbage”. This principle can work to our advantage if we are putting “good food” into our minds. The problem is that some people are not really watching their “mind-diet” very well. Just like our bodies love junk food and crave more of the stuff, so our minds seem to love “garbage” and we develop a craving for the stuff.
At the extreme end of this type of behavior is the person who is addicted to pornography. The “garbage out” results for this individual are often tragic, both for the person and for the people in their life. In prison we see perhaps the most extreme results of minds that have been allowed to feed on such “garbage”.
Maybe it would be to our advantage to check out exactly what we are feeding our minds. We live in a society that is very health conscious when it comes to the mental or the physical realm. Yet so very little is ever said about our spiritual health.
Do the people who are feeding our minds a great deal of the time have values that are far removed from ours? Has this influenced us as a society? If we take an honest look at the moral values of our society over the past 40 years, the sad answer is YES. Has it influenced us as individuals? Only you can answer that for yourself. As I honestly look at my own life, I know it has and it will continue to do so as long as I allow it.
The mental and spiritual aspects of our lives are precious. They deserve our attention, maybe even more than our physical bodies. These two areas go inseparably together. We need to take responsibility for what we are feeding our minds, realizing that what we take in will become a part of us. The following verse of Holy Scripture would be a good one to stick right on our television sets: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things…and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).
Whether we realize it or not, there is a continuous battle for our minds. The mind can be the doorway to the heart. Do you fast from certain foods during the course of the Church Year? It is most helpful as those who fast regularly will affirm. Have you ever consider fasting from certain visual things as well? That may not be something that you’ve had on your radar, but it may be worth considering. Maybe it’s time to start a mental “fast” of sorts.
St. Paul had something similar in mind when he wrote the Corinthian Church these words: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
What am I feeding my mind tonight?