Several years ago, the mnemonic GIGO was found everywhere. Originally, it was an acronym in computer science that meant “Garbage In – Garbage Out.” Ostensibly, if one were to input faulty data, one could expect nothing but faulty data to be crunched and output. Sounds like IT 101, doesn’t it? Yet, they had to coin a phrase for people to remember that faulty data stayed faulty, whether in or out of the computer.
People began to apply GIGO to other areas of their lives. It was soon caught up by those promoting healthy eating, for example. Put fat and sugar into your body; your body is going to output fat and, perhaps, sugar diabetes. By putting less than stellar effort into a project, you are going to end up with a less than stellar product. Even in relationships, GIGO could be applied – if you invest less of you in a relationship, the relationship is going to end up with you less the other person.
Not to belabor the subject, but folks, it is such a simple truism of life that I cannot help but look at our modern politics and see how GIGO has been applied. It’s hard to look at any organization today in August 2021 and not see this principle at work, sadly, big time.
As the news of the day becomes darker and darker each day, many are finding their peace is eroding. Apprehension of what is coming on the world has many running scared. Sleep aids are flying off the drugstore shelves, as are calming herbs and devices. Just ‘google’ SLEEP AIDS and see the number of products that pop up and the number of outlets from which you can purchase them, from Amazon on down. And that’s at the lower end of the scale. On the upper end, we are seeing an increase in the rate of suicides across the age spectrum as well as across the world.
The World Health Organization has posted, as of June 17, 2021, that one in 100 deaths is attributable to suicide, and more than twice as many men as women take their own lives. Again, not to belabor this idea, but to illustrate, the U.S. National Library of Medicine published an article with the following title: ‘The dual pandemic’ of suicide and COVID-19: A biopsychosocial narrative of risks and prevention.”
Feel free to do your own research about this phenomenon if you like. As for me, I’m wanting to get to the good news … so let’s go!
And here it is: GIGO can also stand for “Good In, Good Out,” and, my friends, it works exactly the same way as its negative sibling. Would you be surprised to learn that Apostle Paul knew this principle way back in the first century?
In Philippians 4:8-9b, we find that Paul wrote, “Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.… And the God of peace will be with you.”
So let’s unpack this verse that is chock-full of gold nuggets of God’s wisdom.
Paul begins this verse with the word ‘finally,’ which is interesting because this is not the last verse in the Book of Philippians. The ‘finally’ is wrapping up the Apostle’s appeal for steadfastness and unity in the faith. In verse 4:2, he writes, “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the LORD.”
Evidently, these two female leaders in the church have had some disagreement between them. However, Paul writes in verse 3 that they have both contended for the faith at his side, along with Clement and the rest of Paul’s co-workers. They are true workers in the vineyard, along with the other leaders in the church at Philippi. Now, we are not told what the two women argued about, but it was significant enough to be mentioned in the epistle and to be redressed by the Apostle himself. For it seems their argument was causing some friction in the church.
After he mentions this episode, Paul writes, “Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again, REJOICE! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The LORD is near.”
He’s saying, ‘Don’t let disagreement take your focus off the LORD. Rather, REJOICE! Rejoice and let your gentleness show, for the LORD is near.’ Isn’t that great advice for today? I mean, how can you think to focus on a disagreement when you know that Jesus is so close? If Jesus was near to the first-century saints, imagine how much closer He is to us when the Rapture could occur now at any moment?
If we fill our minds with rejoicing over the nearness of Jesus, there is no room for arguments. In our joy over Jesus, we can stand steadfast and firm in our faith, which is needed in our day every bit as much as it was in the first century.
Then Paul writes: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In 2021, people get themselves upset over the craziest things. “I’m offended!” It’s the rant of the age. And, if the “I’m offended!” crowd were protesting about the unspeakable horrors going on in Afghanistan, for example, they would have a case. But the ‘offense’ is often something so trivial as to be laughable. But don’t you DARE laugh at the ‘offended one.’ They’re liable to call for your incarceration for being so intolerant.
If they could but focus on gratitude instead of attitude, if they would but fill their minds with prayer and thanksgiving, they would find a peace that they’ve never known before. It could even open them up to the love of Jesus Christ, of Whom so many in the world today are in such great need.
Now, those of us already saved in Jesus Messiah need to read these verses very carefully. If we are to be rejoicing in our faith in Jesus always, why are so many believers feeling depressed?
We find a clue in Psalms 42 and 43 where David asks, “Why, my soul are you downcast?” (He answers himself with the lovely words, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God.”) People have been taunting the psalmist with the sneering question, “Where is your God?” Those who think Christianity ought to be done away with seem to ask that question of us constantly. (Google, for example, Twenty Reasons to Abandon Christianity by Chaz Bufe. Spoiler alert – all 20 are easily refuted by Bible-literate Christians.)
And there it is — that negative GIGO! When these slings and arrows are flung at us every day on the internet, on television, and on social media, our minds can become overpowered by negativity. Garbage constantly going in is, indeed, going to result in outputting garbage, perhaps in the form of a downcast soul.
But God … But God, through Apostle Paul, gives us the fix. FINALLY, then, put into your minds more good, positive ideas and thoughts than negative. Fill yourselves with:
1.) Whatever is true. Today’s truth seems to be whatever anyone thinks it is … but that is NOT true. The Bible is true. Revelation 21:5 – “He Who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new.’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” Likewise, in Revelation 22:6, we read, “The angel (of the LORD) said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The LORD, the God Who inspires the prophets, sent His angel to show His servants the things that must soon take place.'” Prophecy is true. God’s promises are true and trustworthy. Fill your mind, soul, and heart with them.
2.) Whatever is noble. A quick reference to a dictionary shows the word ‘noble’ to mean “showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals. Noble can be used in place of righteous, virtuous, honorable, upright, decent, and so forth. When we input honor, virtue and decency, we are inputting nobility. Expect, then, the same to manifest in our lives.
3.) Whatever is right. If you are a Conservative (as I am), you may consider yourself to be “on the right.” It is not the same as being “in the right.” True righteousness is only attainable through the One and Only Righteous Person in history … Jesus Messiah. We need to seek His righteousness, not our own.
4.) Whatever is pure. Years ago, a Christian gentleman took me to task for using a slang word for manure. Swearing, to me, meant taking the LORD’s name in vain, not saying barnyard words. But he pointed out that when we allow such words into our everyday vocabulary, soon other words even more unacceptable tend to creep in. He said that pure language engendered pure thoughts, and he encouraged me to ‘clean up my mouth.’ Modern language, songs and movies can be governed by us. Purity in, purity out.
5.) Whatever is lovely. “How lovely on the mountain are the feet of Him Who brings Good News.” “You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me.” These lyrics of hymns resonate with me, as I hope they do with you, about contemplating what is lovely. Jesus IS lovely in every sense of the word. He is loving and kind, and He is lovely to behold.
6.) Whatever is admirable. What do you admire? Who do you admire? Why do you admire them? Think on the answers to these three questions; then you will know what is admirable and emulate it.
7.) If anything is excellent or praiseworthy. It’s a good habit to form to acknowledge excellence in others’ work. Your praise doesn’t have to be effusive. A simple, “Thank you for all you do in the LORD. Keep up the good work.” It seems to me that in many circles today, people have left off striving for excellence to the detriment of the community at large. The paragon of excellence for us is, of course, our Triune God, Who is perfect in every way. If Jesus had not fulfilled His mission excellently, perfectly, we would still be dead in our sins today.
Thanks be to God the Father Almighty that because Jesus stayed the course, went to the cross and shed His precious blood there for you and for me, we now have God’s promise of eternal life with Him when we claim Jesus as our Saviour. Excellent! Praise be to Him.
Wrapping up then, if I were to go over this list every day and check my heart, mind and soul for GI – GOOD IN, it would follow that this old sinner could be vastly improved by it, and pretty soon it might even give me GO—GOOD OUT as well. Worth a try, I think.
Let us pray:
Dear Heavenly Father God,
Your ways are vastly above our ways, Your thoughts above our thoughts. Please help us to be a little more like You, like Jesus, every day. Remind us to fill our minds and our hearts with all the goodness, all the nobility, the majesty, the righteousness and the loveliness that You are. Thank You, LORD, for being our God. In Your Name, Jesus Messiah, we pray. Amen.
If anyone reading this devotional has not yet received Jesus as their Saviour, but God has touched your heart by His Holy Word, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or find a Bible-believing local church and ask the Pastor what you must do to be saved in Grace. In the meantime, please consider the ABCs of Salvation:
A – Admit
Admit what you have done wrong and ask forgiveness.
Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.”
1 John 1:9 ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
B – Believe
Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again as payment for your sins.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
C – Confess and Choose
Confess and choose to allow God to be in charge of your life.
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
This article, based on God’s Holy Word, was written by the inspiration of God’s own Holy Spirit. All glory to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.