Have you ever heard someone talking and thought to yourself, or shared with someone else, “that person has no filter.” Usually what is meant by that is that the person ‘without a filter’ speaks their mind without regard to the effect the words will have on those who hear. The things they speak are often offensive and inflammatory. It is assumed that our filters are installed at some point between the inception of our thoughts and the expression of our thoughts. There is a filter of sorts in that place – it should be wisdom and discernment to know whether to speak or not and self-control to follow through with what your discernment is telling you. That filter is not supposed to keep the garbage in. The filter that should sift out the healthy from the unhealthy is installed much earlier in the thought process. This is the filter of our choices – what are we choosing to see and hear? Proverbs 4:23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Instead of filtering what comes out of our mouths, it filters what goes into our minds and our hearts. Luke 6:45 says it clearly – A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Let’s compare the filters to a couple of filters you are more familiar with. The filter most people refer to, the filter that is in place right before speech, could be compared to a shop vac filter. How does that work? The purpose of a shop vac is to seek out and suck up waste and debris. The filter, if there is one, prevents the particulates from re-entering the air. If you’ve used a shop vac very often, you know that most of the time, the odor of the waste and debris will make it through the filter even though most the particulates may not. And in the end, you still have to dump the garbage somewhere else. You cannot store it forever in the shop vac.
The other kind of filter is the air filter on your vehicle. As you drive your vehicle, the air filter receives the air you encounter as you travel and filters out the impurities before they get in and damage the mechanics of the car. If this filter doesn’t function properly or is overloading with excessively filthy air, your vehicle will not function properly or may stop functioning altogether. Which filter are you relying on? Are you intentionally filtering the impurities before they enter the mechanics of your mind and heart or are you going through your days sucking up anything you may encounter, or worse, seeking out garbage to consume? How do you decide what qualifies as an impurity?
For those of us who may have been operating more like a shop vac and relying on the wrong filter, our check-engine lights have been on and our minds, hearts and maybe even our bodies have been not functioning properly for a while. There is good news. The effects do not have to be terminal or even chronic. The Lord is our Great (Mechanic)Physician. Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. The healing He accomplished on the cross was not only physical healing but healing for the soul as well. Psalm 103 is a beautiful testament to God’s patient love and compassion towards us; verses 3-6 give us a glimpse of His design for our redemption and restoration. …”who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” It is possible to reverse and repair the flawed mind-sets and broken hearts that are the consequences of the garbage. When you seek the Lord, surrender to Him, and cooperate with the healing He has for you, your mind and your heart can be healed, whole and healthy. Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. As you are in relationship with the Lord, He will not only customize your filter, He will clean out the debris and garbage that may have already made it in. Deuteronomy 30:6 – The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. The Lord will remove the ‘flesh’ from your heart so that you are able to love Him, and others, with a pure heart and soul
In Deuteronomy 30, the Lord pleads with His children to return to Him and relationship with Him and He will restore them, have compassion on them, gather them, and prosper them. This is a chapter full of promises from the Lord to His love – His children. He desires the best for us and the best starts with our hearts. He desires relationship with us. When we participate in that relationship, we have access to the best He has for us, not only in our hearts but in all areas of our lives
If you’re concerned that your part is too difficult, vs 11-16 reassure us – Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
This is so exciting to me! This promise was given under the old covenant, where there was not yet an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. HOW MUCH MORE do we have the Word of God, the plans and desires of God, the very breath of God, under the New Covenant of Grace, – where we have Christ in us! We have the witness of the Holy Spirit to comfort, nurture, direct and guide us.
Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
1 Chronicles 16:10-11 – Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
The Holy Spirit will be the filters we need to guide us in choosing what we take in as well as what we put out. He will process and translate our thoughts to be those of Christ. 1 Kings 8:58 – May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors. He will speak through us with the love of the Lord. Proverbs 16:24 – Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
It might be time for a tune-up and the installation of the last filters you’ll ever need to install.
Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.