There may have been times in the past when it took concerted effort to see and experience immorality; today it takes concerted effort to avoid seeing it. And so we must put great effort into steering our minds away from what is displeasing to God and into steering them toward what he loves. We must deliberately discipline ourselves to consider only what honors God, only what is pleasing to him, only what results in his sweet peace.
We live at a time of great public immorality, a time in which the only thing that is shameful is shame itself. Immorality is synonymous with entertainment and the basest sexual perversions are flaunted on-screen for all to see. Television shows compete among themselves to explore and transgress any boundary. The very things that marked a respectable man a few years ago mark a bigoted or repressed one today. Society is so saturated with immorality it is impossible to prevent ourselves from being inundated with it.
In the midst of this morass, Christians are given a command that may seem impossible. We are told to have pure minds, holy minds, minds that have been supernaturally renewed by the Spirit of God so they now treasure what God treasures and abhor what God abhors. It is not enough that we refuse to practice evil, but we must not fixate on it or even think about it. Some things are so shameful, so opposed to God’s purpose and plan for humanity, that we should not even ponder them, not even speak of them, certainly not laugh about them. The deeds of darkness are to be left for those with hearts of darkness.
In such a difficult context, it is crucial that we avoid what is vile and pursue what is lovely. We must be disciplined in guarding our hearts from what is odious to God and, therefore, ought to be odious to us. We guard our hearts by guarding our minds, and we guard our minds by guarding our ears and eyes. Our hearts tend not to desire what our minds do not consider, and our minds tend not to consider what our ears do not hear and our eyes do not see. This is why the Bible specifically warns us to steer our minds toward those things that are pleasing to God.