Recently I was having lunch with my friends Scott and Brenda, and they told me that the view had really improved at their house recently. They told me that everything in their backyard had looked so dirty and so dingy for a long time until the other day. They did something that totally changed the view. They cleaned the big window that looks out on that yard. When you're looking through a dirty window, everything looks dirty.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Dirty Windows."
Now the Apostle Paul was writing from a very depressing location when he wrote our word for today from the Word of God. He was in prison for doing something right. He was a victim of injustice. He was surrounded by gloom, and he was isolated from the people who cared about him, and he was very uncertain about the future. Now what was the view for him? Philippians 4:4 - "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"
Now wait a minute! How can he be so positive, so joyful? Well, verse 6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Paul said when you bring your situation to God with thanksgiving, he's focusing on the good things that God has done. Then verse 7 says, "And the peace of God" as a result of that "which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." And then verse 8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." In other words Paul is saying train your brain not to dwell on the negatives but on the noble stuff, the true stuff, the right, the pure, the lovely, the praiseworthy. He's telling us that life looks much brighter when you are looking out a clean window. But unfortunately, too often life looks dark and depressing, overwhelming to us.
That happened to Scott and Brenda. That's how we ended up talking about their backyard window. They said that there has been tension between them and some of their family members. They left their church because of some of the disillusioning things there; but now they're actively working on removing those sources of tension between them and the family members, and they are returning to their church with a new attitude. I said, "Hey, you cleaned your window." And they said, "What?" I said, "When you are looking through a dirty window everything looks dirty." Then they smiled at each other and said, "We just did that last week. We cleaned our back window and what a difference it made." See they also cleaned the dirty window on their heart and started to focus on positives, on solutions, on healing and everything suddenly looked different.
Maybe it's time for you to do some window cleaning. Maybe you've allowed some bitterness or resentment to creep into your heart. Maybe what you have been through has caused you to slip into thinking about yourself most of the time and into that awful swamp called self-pity. Or you focused a lot of your thinking on a person or some people who wronged you or hurt you. The fact is that the view has become stressful and unmotivating and discouraging, and it really isn't the stuff in the yard that is causing it. It's the attitude through which you are viewing things. It's your dirty window.
Why don't you start back by what the Bible describes as the Rejoice Mode? It starts when you bring your situation to Jesus, and your attitude. It's your attitude that's dragging you down more than your situation. Each new day begin by listing to your Heavenly Father the things for which you are thankful, and then start loading up your heart with music and Scripture and conversation that will fill your tank with positive fuel. You may not be able to change what's in the yard, but you can change how you're looking at it. Now you've been looking out a dirty window long enough.