If what goes in must come out, then what goes out must have been first put in or allowed in. While occasionally something sneaks by, most of what gets “in” is put there on purpose. That seems simple doesn’t it? I think so. I think it’s simple enough that everyone can understand how that works with eating, learning, serving, and about a thousand other scenarios in life. Not much to debate or discuss, but plenty to apply.
We can use that formula on a personal level in many facets. We can use it as parents trying to nurture good kids growing up in a not-so-good culture. We can use it in educational, ministerial, and even business settings to emphasize the need for putting good content, good character, good habits, good will, and best practices into how we go about doing things, growing things, and raising things (little people). If you want something healthy produced, then you’d better put choice ingredients into it.
Reflection on this can go many directions. We might examine the things we are reading or watching and the thoughts (good and bad) that follow in our head. We could examine the friends that surround us and their influence on us (good and bad) in relation to how we see the world around us through their eyes or perspectives. We can consider the way we use time, money, ability, and freedoms to either be of great value or great trouble to our end goals. To be intentional about putting “anything” into our “something” is to attempt to make it better; make it profitable; make it fun; or make it good. Occasionally though, even with the best of intentions, we are pouring poison into something that is precious to us.
Here are some areas to consider and evaluate:
What are you putting into your body? (You only have one so take care of it.)
What are you putting into your house? Your car? Your retirement? (They can’t take care of themselves you know.)
What are you putting into your marriage? (Does she/he get the leftover you, the lost in this life you, or the loving you that she/he prays for?)
What are you putting into your friendships? (Friendships are as close to 50-50 as possible when they are healthy. If you want to have a good friend, be a good friend.)
What are you putting into your worship? (Spectating in worship is not biblical and might be one of our biggest sins. No one in the kingdom of God should be content to be only an observer.)
What are you putting into your mental health? (Take a day off. Take a walk. Take a vacation. Take a cold glass of sweet tea and a deep breath. You need it. We all need it.)
What are you putting into your heart? (Forget about bacon grease. Anger, greed, lust, bitterness, self-pity will kill you quicker than clogging your arteries, and you won’t even see it coming.)
You may choose not to answer honestly or with any depth of true self-reflection. You can keep on thinking that what you are doing works and that nothing really needs to change. If only others would get their act together or would treat you differently, then everything would be copasetic, right? Wrong. We are 99.999998 percent responsible for the outcomes we are getting. We may not control our personal profit/productivity, but we have everything to do with managing our potential, pushing for progress, and/or placing ourselves in the best of environments and circumstances to get the end result we hope for and others find helpful.
Putting good things – Godly things – into ourselves is the best investment we could ever make. Why don’t we do it with intention, with conviction, with regularity, with love? By putting the right things into our life, we can reasonably predict and expect the right things to come out. Even when the outcome is a bit different than we imagined, we are able to look at that reality with a healthy outlook and additional inputs to meet the need.
Let’s start today. Right now. Don’t delay and don’t settle. It’s only the quality of your life at stake. It is likely the most important work you will do all day. So put something good on the record player and get starting putting good things into every area of your life. Better yet, let God show you those good things and then together put them in. Input God’s choice things and your life will never be the same.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned, what you heard and saw & realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. (Philippians 4:9-10)