Filters are useful and helpful things that typically demand little attention until there is a problem with them. When we ignore and neglect them, they impede the day-to-day operation of many items we use on a regular basis, such as a furnace, air conditioner, or dryer.
For instance, I never think to monitor the vacuum cleaner’s filter status until the machine won’t operate. This may explain the alarming rate at which I burn through vacuums. My fish tank has also suffered from a neglected filter that had long since stopped being able to provide any semblance of pure water. So far Buzz the beta fish has survived better than the vacuums, thankfully.
As Christ followers it is important that we have devices in place that will remove unwanted components in our thinking and speaking. A spiritual filter will act as a device for removing impurities. Have you ever heard people brag or at least find humorous the fact that they have “no filter?” This implies that whatever comes to their mouth gate or thought gate comes out before it has been processed by ”should this be said, or should this be thought?”
We could apply countless scriptures as a filter to everything we do, think, and say, but the one I’ve been meditating on recently is found in Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If we carefully filtered each thought and word by this one scripture, how different we would communicate and meditate!  Before we speak or as we are thinking, we should stop and ask ourselves the following questions:
Is it true? Many times we worry about the “what ifs” in life or what people will think and say about us that are not true, or what we perceive people may be thinking about us. “What if harm comes to my child?” “They will think I did it with the wrong motivation.” “They told me I said something I never said.” Stop yourself and ask yourself, “Is this true?” You can’t control what others think about you, but you can filter your thoughts by asking yourself if what you are thinking is reflecting truth or worries and perceptions. If it is not true, then let this scripture redirect your thinking. Not everything that is true should be said or thought, so the list goes on.
Is it honest, just, and pure? Is what you are thinking right now, or is what you are about to say, wholesome? An off-color joke, an accusatory thought, a selfish thought. It would be good to run it through the purity filter. Are the things you are allowing into our eye-gate through what you read and watch helping you to maintain pure, wholesome thoughts?
Is it lovely? Are your thoughts beautiful, pleasant, and delightful? God has filled our world with lovely things, the things He wants us to meditate on. How many times do you find ourselves dwelling on thoughts that are far from lovely?
Is this of good report? Is it virtuous, and praise-worthy? Before you speak, before you dwell on something…run it through these filters. Is what you are about to repeat a good report and worthy to be praised? Or does it make you look good at the cost of someone else’s feelings or reputation?
Would your thoughts and speech pass the Philippians 4:8 filter check? If not, redirect your thoughts and speech by installing some new filters. Check your filters regularly and hold yourself accountable to think and speak only the things that our Savior would approve of.
Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.