Words: Feeding the Middle Man

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I do not want to write this post.  In fact, for the past two weeks I have been hiding from God.  Like Jonah fleeing from his mission to Nineveh, I have been desperately leaping aboard any ship that may distract me from plumbing the depths of this issue.  And, also like Jonah, I have been swallowed up.  Not by a whale, mind you, but that behemoth called depression.  Like the stomach acids of that famed sea mammal, this depression eats into my mind and gives me no rest.  Why this is so difficult for me has been a large part of my despondency and I will address that in a bit.

This is the final part in my short series regarding the words we speak.  If you missed the other parts, you can read Words: The Heart’s Mirror here, and Words: The Effects of Verbal Vomit here.  Now, on with our regular programming…

As I’ve been exploring this topic, I am seeing that it isn’t enough to guard the words that come from my lips, although that is important.  But to simply leave it at that is to slap a band aid on a slashed artery.  The well spring of my words is my heart, yes—but there is a middle man I have yet to address.  My mind.

I live with a heart renewed by Jesus Christ.  I must allow my heart to filter my speech.  But if I am not conscious of what I am feeding my middle man, filtering my speech will be a constant struggle and I end up not being all that different from any one else on the planet.

“…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.”  (Philippians 4:8, NLT)

A steady diet of healthy input to the middle man is needed to keep my heart’s filter working optimally.  Everything I allow into my consciousness will affect this: my conversations, my choice of entertainment, music.  If I am not filling my mind with the words of Christ, with thoughts that are excellent and praiseworthy, then my filter breaks down and my words betray me.

Now this is not just an ABC formula: read your bible, don’t swear, listen exclusively to Christian music, and don’t watch R rated shows.  Setting some parameters is good, but legalism and pride can so easily creep in and blind us.  I’m thinking deeper.  Those musings that we allow to run rampant in our minds, though we’d never dream speak them.  Negative thoughts allowed free range, growing and becoming bloated.  Left unchecked, they fester like a boil until the vileness seeps out in other areas of our speaking.  Thoughts not taken captive unto the obedience of Christ will degrade our heart’s filter just as much as a steady diet of foul and violent entertainment.

And herein lies my reluctance to write this.  How can I tell all of you to be mindful of your words, to perpetually renew your heart with God’s Word, and reign in your thought life when mine is currently in shambles?  My middle man has been gorging on unhealthy fare.  My time in scripture has been minimal.  I obsess on my critical thoughts of others.  My inner critic has been resurrected in full violent force and is gleefully wreaking havoc in my mind.  My middle man has grown fat and complacent.  He sits there stuffing himself with junk food and belching vile words from my lips.  And it is entirely my fault.  I am the one choosing to feed him these things.

By confessing this, I must commit to change.  To repent.  A word that sends shudders of disgust up the spine of the unbeliever.  What an archaic expression.  Even as a Christ-follower the word rankles my rebellious nature. But I know that it simply means to turn.  To turn from what I am doing that is negatively affecting my relationship with the Lover of my soul.  To actually put His words into practice and become different than the average bear.

I want the filtering process to be so easy that I no longer have to think about it.  I want the struggle to end.  I want my words to bring healing, promote instruction, and be like a gift to the receiver.

I believe it’s time for my middle man to go on a diet.  How about yours?

“A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.”  (Proverbs 15:14, NLT)

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15 thoughts on “Words: Feeding the Middle Man

  1. Great post, Rebeca!
    “Thoughts not taken captive unto the obedience of Christ will degrade our heart’s filter just as much as a steady diet of foul and violent entertainment.”
    I like that. Do you think it’s legalism to not watch R-rated movies or set similar type boundaries?

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    • Hi Bill! I think that setting parameters is a good thing, but with some degree of flexibility. For instance, if I stood firm on the no rated R movie rule, I’d miss out on The Passion of the Christ as well as some very good historical movies whose realism caused the rating. Boundaries are necessary as it is too easy to veer off course as a Christ follower. However, legalism is so insidious–it creeps in and puffs up our pride. We then wear our ‘rules’ as spiritual badges of honor and stop using our God-given common sense. I’ve been pondering this, and will probably tackle the subject when my thoughts coalesce more. What are your thoughts on this?

      Thanks for your thought-provoking comment. I pray your day will be blessed!

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  2. So glad you didn’t wait to ‘arrive’ to encourage us. We stumble along together, but we keep moving as we tell each other, “This is what the King wants!” You have such a graceful, honest way of writing. I look forward to reading more!

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    • Your comment is incredibly humbling, considering how it often seems as if I am simply serving as a warning beacon to others—Don’t do what I’m doing!! Thankfully, our Lord is good and gracious and is willing to use even that. Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words.

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  3. This is so good! “I want my words to bring healing, promote instruction, and be like a gift to the receiver”- That’s exactly what I want from my life as well. It’s definitely time to stop feeding the middle man and start indulging in the Word of God so that every word that comes out of my mouth will be wholesome and encouraging to all those around me. Thank you for sharing this!

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  4. Rebeca,
    Thought I’d pop over and see your site since you were kind enough to read my blog. I really liked this post and how you painted a clear picture of the diet we feed ourselves and our indigestion afterwards. I am careful about the movies I put into my brain, and I don’t regret it, but I don’t see it as a legalism thing, just knowing what is good for me, and following suit.

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    • Hi Anne! I agree that being careful of what we put in our brains is simply good sense. I find the subject of legalism to be sobering though, as I have seen too many people make their lofty rules with little thought as to why. I think it qualifies as a pet peeve for me. That subject is definitely brewing for a posting someday soon. 🙂

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. When I was going through the Tribe Writer’s course, I was very impressed with your gift of encouragement. I also enjoy your writings very much–you are quite inspiring to me. I appreciate you stopping by. Have a lovely weekend!

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