Our world is filled with ugliness. The ugliness caused by sin, caused by rebellion, by hatred of God and His truth. Ugliness caused by the perversion of God’s goodness. Destroyed relationships, ruined marriages, are ugly. Lives marred by drug abuse and alcoholism—ugly. Beautiful women living in constant debauchery, adultery and fornication–ugly. Abortion as a birth control method, greed ruining lives. Ugly.
   We cannot avoid seeing the ugliness that comes from the perversion of sin. But, we can refrain from wallowing in it. We can limit our exposure to it to that which God’s calling in our lives demands: that is, the person who is called, and gifted, to face the ugliness of the world with regularity will be given the grace to handle the task. But it is the willful exposure of one’s heart and mind to unnecessary ugliness that makes no sense. The more exposure we have, the less we will be appalled and repelled by it.
   “Think on what is lovely.” In the context, this is not simply a command to enjoy the beauty of goodness, of holiness, of what is pleasing in God’s creation. It is a part of the entire string of commands, and truly, we are given a good idea of what “lovely” here means by seeing it in light of what has come before. God’s creation is beautiful when it is in harmony with its Creator. The Christian who stares at the grandeur of creation can do so with an added level of depth that the one who remains in rebellion against God cannot. That which is righteous is lovely; that which is holy is pleasing to God, and to those who are at peace with God.
   When we are purposefully seeking to discipline our thinking, our minds, we will know when we are indulging the flesh and thinking upon that which is not pleasing to God, which reverberates with the rebellious tones of the world. We should truly seek to be sensitive to the Spirit in recognizing when things are lovely, of a good report, and when they are stained with the revolting stench of the world.

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