Embrace that which gives life

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Christian community”
Our Bible verse for today: “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Embrace that which gives life”
This morning I want to continue our discussion from yesterday regarding grace and ungrace, and what kind of Christian community we are going to be. In that devotional I encouraged us to choose grace over ungrace and to be intentional about it. That lesson applies to the influences we allow into our lives as well.
Philippians 4:8 is a wonderful passage that encourages us to intentionally fill our lives with good positive influences that nurture our soul and promote spiritual growth. It reminds me of a life lesson I heard long ago and which I try make it a point to practice: “Reject that which drains you; embrace that which gives life.”
 We typically apply the lesson of Philippians 4:8 to our personal lives – and that certainly is a good application of it. But the lesson also applies in the larger context to the Christian communities we choose to involve ourselves in. By “Christian communities” I’m referring first and foremost to our churches, but also to small-group Bible studies, fellowship events, and any other gatherings of professing Christians. Many of them are good and helpful, but some are not.
I encourage you to avoid toxic communities. You don’t need that in your life. Our society is negative enough to begin with, you don’t need toxic negativity in your gatherings with other Christians too. If your church or other gatherings of Christians is a negative experience, by all means, try to turn that around if you can – but don’t wait too long, don’t spend too much time immersed in the muck and mire of a negative experience. Doing so will hurt you.
Philippians 4:8 should apply to both your private life of discipleship and to your gatherings in Christian community. I encourage you to reject that which drains you and embrace that which gives life.
God bless,
Pastor Jim

(Join us at Oak Hill Baptist Church every Sunday at 10:00. Join us in-person if you are nearby or, if you are geographically distant or if you are a shut-in, join us online at http://www.YouTube.com/oakhillbaptistcrossville
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