The world is full of toxins—negative words from others, depressing news reports, misunderstandings, disappointments, and our own internal voices programmed by past failures. This year, we must detox our lives. God’s ultimate victory, not our past mistakes, must permeate and sustain our hearts.
As we press into our 2019 goals, we must be aware that what looks beautiful on the surface could be our undoing. It’s like this…. In the early 1940’s, a visionary entrepreneur was forced to abandon a canal he was building near Niagara Falls in upstate New York. Eventually, the government permitted a chemical company to dispose of 21,000 tons of toxic waste into that abandoned canal. Then it was sealed and covered with soil.
In the 60’s, developers built beautiful housing communities with a local school in that area, never knowing that chemical waste was leaching into the water supply, soil, and environment. The result was hundreds of cases of disease, miscarriage and death.
By the end of the 70’s, “Love Canal” became the first named toxic waste site. Once identified, the site was abandoned and sealed. What was seen as beautiful above ground was toxic underground.
Like Love Canal, your fight against toxins has huge impact for you and the generations of people coming after you. But how do detoxify our lives? It starts in our daily thinking. Our mindset.
Look where Paul wrote, “Think on these things…” He followed it with a list that will detoxify your life:
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4).
Paul declares our freedom:
“Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won’t need to compare himself with someone else” (Galatians 6).
One of the most infectious toxins in our world today is comparison. From Instagram to Facebook to television reality shows to guys with washboard abs—we are bombarded with images to which to compare ourselves. Comparison is a toxin that negatively infects every area of your mind.
This is one of the biggest areas in which it’s so easy to stumble – being more concerned with what we look like to others or wanting others to like us. It’s in this area that we so easily lose our focus on God. The focus then shifts to me. The Kingdom of Heaven is really not all about my plans, it’s about His purposes. And God’s purpose is the redemption of all mankind.
Maybe you can adopt what I’ve learned. Today, when I see what others are doing, I rejoice. I open myself to be provoked to attempt great things when I see what others are accomplishing. These are the same images that can become a trap of jealousy, envy, and even pride. But we can choose differently. Eugene Petersen’s paraphrase of Romans 12:16, reads:
“Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.”
Detoxing means not trying to look good to others, posting photos that show our greatness or trying to be the hero of every story. Paul wrote:
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2 Cor 10:12 NIV)Rejoice when people, rejoice. Weep when they mourn. Reject toxins of comparison and belittlement. Focus on the God of peace who intends to bring you great health in 2019. Reject the toxins of the world through meditating on the Word. Let’s get healthy this year!