Therefore I urge you to imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 1st Corinthians 4:16
We have a new neighbor. Just moved into the little nest in our forsythia bush. She's a cat bird.
Cat birds have the most delightful song. I recently discovered that they are related to mockingbirds. And that makes sense, since their vocal abilities allow them to copy the songs of other species. When they string all those lilts and tweets together they end up creating a song all their own.
Sometimes I've even heard it mimicking crickets or croaking toads. Every now and then it throws its trademark "meow" into its song to remind us who that song really belongs to.
As I've been out writing on my deck, serenaded by my new neighbor, it got me thinking.
What voices have I been listening to? How have I been parroting what I hear? Are my words/songs delightful to those I meet or do they hurt their hearts?
Philippians 4:8 says I'm to do my best to fill my mind and meditate on things full of beauty and truth. Things that are pure, honorable, authentic, compelling and grace-filled.
We don't hear much of this these days.
Between social media, the television, and the radio, we are inundated with other people's thoughts and ideas. Some thoughts are awful. Ugly. Hate-filled. Other thoughts aren't worth our time to listen to. Some, however, are encouraging, uplifting and bless our hearts.
So that begs the question, what have you been filling your mind with? What songs spill out of your mouth?
Ephesians 4:29 tells us to offer words that build each other up, especially to the folks who need it most. We are to use our words as a blessing. To administer grace to whoever is in earshot of us.
Convicting, isn't it?
Not only that. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:32 to be gentle with one another and sensitive to their stories. And he says that the best place to start is by imitating God. To live as lovingly as he does. To follow Christ's example of a life filled with sacrificial love. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
It's so easy to get caught up in ugly stuff or even the stuff not worth listening to. What if we choose today to turn off the radios in our car, our TV's and yes, and I'm preaching to myself here—even our phones—for a spell...and simply listen for the sweet sound of Jesus' voice?
Imagine breathing in the beauty all around you. Listening to the lilting tunes of your songbirds. And smelling the lilacs filling the air with their fragrance.
That's what it's going to take to release us from all those crazy thoughts that fill our hearts, minds and sadly spill from our mouths.
My prayer for each one of us is that we would think on things full of beauty and truth. That what others hear coming from our mouths would be repetitions of God's loving, patient, grace-filled heart to this world.
Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. —Romans 12:2