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Life Change

When I was fourteen my pastor introduced me to a radical concept. It was radical for me because I was what you might call a television junkie. I loved all those shows that people now call “vintage.” Growing up, my typical day was filled with several hours vegging in front of the T.V.

Things changed when my pastor issued a challenge to me one day. He challenged me to use Philippians 4:8 as my guide for what I filled my head with. He challenged me to place my music, television programs, books, magazines, and even my conversations, through the grid of Philippians 4:8 and see if they fit the criteria of things that would help me grow in my relationship with Christ. If Internet would’ve been around back then I’m sure he would’ve thrown that into the mix.

A Stunning Revelation

I looked up Philippians 4:8 in my Bible and sat there stunned for a few minutes as I considered what this would mean . . . what this would look like in my life. This spelled it out pretty clearly for me:

[box]Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.[/box]

Wow.

I determined to take his challenge seriously and it made an immediate impact. I found that it radically cut my television watching time, I got rid of some of my music, I chose to exit certain conversations. Basically my time, thought life, and attitude was dramatically altered. It may sound like it was a “legalistic” approach to life, but for me it wasn’t a box of “self-righteous living” I was checking off for some kind of spiritual brownie points. No, for me it was a way of growing in Christ and I desperately wanted that.

Radical Change

See, what I realized shortly after I took on his challenge was that I had a lot more time (a LOT MORE time) for other things . . . like getting into the Word, starting a Bible study at my public high school, reading good books, and building discipling relationships. Not only did I have more time, but the stuff going on in my head was different. My desires were also changing . . . I was hungry for God’s Word, couldn’t get enough of it. And I was actually growing in my walk with the Lord.

I was experiencing God at work in my life like never before!

I count taking up my pastor on his challenge as one of the most significant spiritual markers in my life. For decades now, this verse has served me well as my guideline for what I fill my head and soul with. As a teen I realized how much time I’d already wasted binging on the junk that the culture offered for entertainment and I remember drawing a line in the sand and saying, “No more! I’m not going to live for lesser things! I’m going to pursue what will draw me closer to Christ!”

I’ve never regretted that choice.

What about you? Are there areas in your life that may be dragging you down spiritually? Wasting your life and killing your spiritual desires? Zapping your spiritual life and spoiling your spiritual hunger?

How about taking on my pastor’s challenge to a life change?

Adapted from my blog post 09.17.13 at beyondbathtime.com

4 Comments

  • Brenda

    What a blessing from the LORD to have been challenged with Philippians 4:8 (and have ears to hear) at the young age of 14! I cannot begin to imagine how different and God-honoring my life would be today in my late 50’s…
    But as an adult, I first learned about Philippians 4:8 from Kay Arthur when she taught us in Bible study to “Philippians 4:8 our thoughts”! That was the first time I knew that Philippians 4:8 could be a verb!:) And how life-changing that was for me! I have since taught this myself many, many times over the years. But in the last months, the LORD has been expanding this crucial biblical principle to include other areas of my life; in fact, ALL areas of my life. It all has to do with the intense desire He has given me to please Him, to bring Him glory and honor and praise in EVERYTHING. How I spend my time, what and how much I eat, how I speak to my husband, etc. It is only the LORD who can change our hearts and bring about such desire, and I am so very thankful to Him for it! Though I have not “arrived”, He is daily working out this weighty change in me.
    Thank you, Kimberly, for sharing your encouraging testimony of the LORD’s work in your life.

  • Sandra

    I shared this blog post with my girls during our Bible time this morning. We discussed what using Philippians 4:8 as a filter might look like in each of our lives and in our family and were challenged and motivated by your words “. . . the stuff going on in my head was different. My desires were also changing . . . And I was actually growing in my walk with the Lord.” That’s what we want and need. We’ve committed to help each other apply this biblical filter and we began memorizing this passage together this morning.

    Thank you so much, Kim, for instructing us through your post today.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Brenda ~

    Thank you for taking the time to share how God has used this verse in your life. I love how He continues to train us and the depth of the riches of His Word is limitless!

    God’s blessings to you, friend ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Sandra ~

    Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. I’m excited that you and your girls are committed to this. Please send in an update in a few weeks and let us know how things are going, what changes you’ve noticed, and what God is teaching you!

    Good to hear from you!