Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Been thinking about filters this week.

Our air conditioner started leaking on Saturday. In the house. The A/C technician – a friend – responded to my frantic call.  Turns out there was nothing wrong with the system…that is, nothing that couldn’t be corrected by cleaning the filters once a month. The A/C system had to work too hard to pull the air through the clogged filters, causing algae to build up in the drainage pipe. Yup, we brought it on ourselves by not cleaning the filters.

This week we cleaned the pool filter. Yucch. The filter changed color as we hosed the sand and dirt from between the accordion folds. As I watched the dirt flow off with the water, I wondered why I had waited so long…and wondered how much dirt was still in our pool because the overloaded filter couldn’t handle any more dirt.

Hmmm. Now I’m wondering about my life filters. Am I waiting too long to clean my own filters?

Have I gotten casual about what I read? Is the content of that novel I picked up for some light beach reading really what I want to fill my mind?

Casual about what I watch? Are summer television programs merely fun “escapism,” or are they another way to clog my filters?

What are my filters, anyway?

When I think of filters, I’m reminded of an old children’s song, “Oh Be Careful Little Eyes What You See.” The first stanza repeats the title, with good reason. Images stamped in our minds’ eyes often originate through our physical eyes. When Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22), He may very well have been speaking about a filter.

This same children’s song also includes a stanza about our ears. Words and music are powerful influences. God spoke the world into existence with His Word. Jesus is the living Word. The words I listen to nestle deep in my soul and influence me in ways I may never fully realize.

While the first two stanzas of this song speak of what we take in through our eyes and ears, the remainder of the song speaks to what we do: “Be careful little tongue what you say;” “Be careful little hands what you do;” “Be careful little feet where you go.”

What we take in through our eyes and ears affects what we say, what we do, and where we go. Ultimately, it touches the state of our hearts. Proverbs 4:23  tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” And Proverbs 4:23-27 reminds us of the relationship between the state of our hearts and what we see, what we say, what we do, and where we go.

The cleaner we keep our filters, the less dirt we’ll need to clean out of our hearts. Now if you’ll please excuse me, I have some filters that need attending.

How clean are your filters?

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