Watch your inputs
Yesterday I went out deer hunting. Those of you who know me, know I've been deer hunting more than once or twice and that I've killed precisely zero deer. I haven't even shot at any.
Typically I hunt with a friend from college who is also one of the deacons in the church I serve. He and I have been all over his farm and a few other places, and we've seen deer at a distance, but have not seen anything we could shoot.
Yesterday I was on a different farm, but I was out by myself. Gary, the farmer, dropped me off on the edge of a soybean field, next to a corn field and by the old railroad tracks. There's an old wood deer blind out there that, honestly, just looks like an old shack on the ground. I walked over there with gun, thermos, and license and propped up and waited.
After about an hour, I saw two small deer wander into the field. They were followed about 10 minutes later by four more does. Then, out walks the biggest buck I have ever…pointed a gun at. We're not talking trophy here folks, and I know that.
Yet for the first time in my life I pointed a firearm at a living, breathing creature. I have been taught safe weapon usage my whole life: you do NOT point the barrel at living things, not even in jest. A firearm is a tool to make something dead, not a toy. I lined up the scope and watched this deer walk towards me. Every effort to be a manly-man and move past my city boy nature to join rural life cried out for me to PULL THE TRIGGER!
And I hesitated. I thought about the good-natured harassment I would get for not shooting a deer when I saw one. I thought about the meat that would not be in the freezer. I thought about walking out in the dark, listening to other hunters' shots echoing over the horizon.
Then, of all things, this came to me:
Yep. Daffy Duck screaming "SHOOT HIM NOW!"
The next thing I hear? The echo of the gunshot. (I was wearing hearing protection. My ears are bad enough). After hearing Daffy yell "Shoot him!" I shot him. The deer went down and basically stayed down.
Why do I tell you this?
1. To brag about the deer. What? You come here for honesty, right?
2. To make the title point: Watch your inputs.
What do I mean?
You never know when the music, videos, or words you've heard will come back to you. When will that song glorifying adultery come back? When will the violent films kick back in your head?
Will your mind draw up good images or bad? Because what you put in will, very likely, come out.
Sometimes it will help. I think about all the hours spent watching cooking shows or even the old Rescue 911 series about emergencies. There were survival shows and other types of inputs.
Of course, the input is not the final thing. After all, I've had a bad boss before. What if "shoot him now!" had come back to me then?
That's why Christians are commanded to take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). We take the input that comes up and must compare it, quickly, to the word of the Lord. The Word tells us that shooting people, for example, is generally bad while shooting deer would be acceptable. The decision, then, can be made.
Further, think ahead into the activities you have ahead of you. I had previously planned to shoot a deer. I had considered the outcomes and purposes, the morality and ethics. If you think through it, you have the opportunity to plan ahead.
But you'll never draw on an input you have never put in.
So my final question to my fellow believers is this: in your 24 hours of daily input, how much of it is the Word of God?
Because that's what you'll need the most to pull out.