Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed? Those are the days you wake up late, stub your toe getting dressed, hit major traffic (making you more late), run in to work (still very, very late), only to get caught by your boss… making what was already a bad mood, worse.
On the other hand, have you ever heard something funny? Like, really, stupid funny. Someone laughs and their laugh is so laughable that you laugh. Then they start laughing harder, because now you’re laughing, when you were only laughing because they were laughing, until everyone dissolves into a useless fit of laughter.
Why do these things happen? One thing turns into another, and then another, until something small has spiraled into something monstrously huge?
A lot of times, it’s simply because we fan the flame. We feed the fire. Events in our lives pile up on each other and create a snowball effect.
There’s a principle at work in this world that is very similar to, “You reap what you sow.” And that’s, whatever you feed, grows.
Whether it be plants, babies, emotions or teenage boys. Sadness, anger, lust, cravings… all of these things fall under the long shadow of this life principle. It’s how a bad moment turns into a bad mood, and becomes a bad day. It’s why when you’re sad, you shouldn’t listen to sad music (even if you really want to!), because while it fits the mood, it also compiles—making things worse. Whatever you feed, grows.
That means even though you don’t think that scene in a movie, or that sexy time music doesn’t hurt, it probably doesn’t help either. We, as a society, have forgotten how to blush. “Yeah, baby, touch me there” can’t come out of your mouth without sneaking in to your heart. Whatever you feed, grows.
We are living in an age where the world is constantly at war with itself. Offenses are everywhere. Terror reigns in our public places; in our schools and in our work environmens. News, real or fake, is streaming directly into our homes with nuances (and outright declarations) of hate. People feed into that. They feed off of that. Wanna start a debate? Bring up politics, refugees or women’s fundamental rights.
People are hungering for peace. They’re marching for peace. They’re destroying property, other people and themselves for peace. They’re making YouTube videos for peace, and they’re campaigning for peace. But the principle we’ve learned is operating in the world tells us whatever you feed, grows.
You can’t defeat hate with hate.
Christians, God gives us the command to pray about everything. Philippians 4 prescribes prayer for peace (4:6). Peace, which is the cure for anxiety and anger. Peace that guards our hearts and minds against the things we can’t control… the things that are beyond our understanding (4:7).
And that peace enables us to do… what exactly? In verse 8, Paul lists things for us to think about. “…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.” (4:8)
Well, isn’t that sweet. “Think nice thoughts.” That’s the big result of prayer and God’s peace?
Far from it! Paul is letting us know that there’s a catch. He is relaying to us the principle, that whatever you feed, grows.
We cannot fill ourselves with garbage and expect to remain pure. We cannot fill ourselves with anger and expect rest. We cannot say things like, “I’d rather die” or “KMS” and expect to live a life of joy.
We must fill ourselves, feed ourselves, with Philippians 4:8 type things.
You cannot pray for peace and fill yourself with unrest. In order to be at peace in a world at war, we must constantly be filling ourselves with noble things. Pure things. Good, nourishing things. This is the standard by which we should judge what we let into our ears, what we let into our eyes, what we let out of our mouths, and what we let into our hearts.
Not to be ostriches with our heads in the sand. Not to be legalistic and weird. But to be holy people of faith, living not by one woman’s opinion, but by God’s principle as preached by Paul with Holy Spirit authority.
Because whatever you feed, grows.
Eat well, my friends.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”