“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV)
In 1974, I graduated from Drexel University with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. After serving in the United States Army, I began working for a company in the printing and paper converting business. One of my assignments was as an assistant manager in the web printing department of a folding carton manufacturing facility in Illinois. As an engineer, my primary responsibility was to oversee the technical aspects of the department and improve the production processes. However, often the job involved investigating maintenance and performance process issues on the machinery.
One day, one of our printing presses with an inline platen die-cutter started acting up. It would run for a few minutes and then shutdown. The oil pressure warning light on the dire-cutter was the only thing that indicated a possible problem. However, when we checked the oil level, we found everything was fine. After repetitive startups and shutdowns, we decided to check the oil filter. We thought it might be clogged. Yet, the oil filter looked fine. Then we thought that something must be clogged in the pipes that fed the oil to the cutter bearings. Checking this was going to be a major undertaking.
As we traced the oil system, we found a strainer in the oil pipe. The strainer was there to catch any large chunks of debris that might enter the system before they got to the filter. The strainer was in fact a coarse filter for this purpose. When we took the strainer out for inspection, we discovered the problem. Someone put a rag in the oil sump and when the machine started, the rag would get sucked up into the strainer and there it would plug up the oil circulating system. The strainer did its job and kept the rag from getting sucked down towards the secondary oil filter.
In machine design it is common practice to place several filters in line like this. The first filter is usually cleanable, a porous mesh of some sort designed to remove larger items, like nuts, bolts, metal shavings, and etcetera from getting to the next and finer filter. In this machine we had two filters to ensure the oil would be kept clean and prevent wear on the die-cutter bearings.
Some processes have even more filters. Each one progressively removes finer and finer particles to ensure what comes out of the filters at the end is of the purest quality. This is what “The Seven Filters” is all about.
We all have a multitude of thoughts every day. It is upon these thoughts that we act. Yet, herein lies the problem. As believers in Jesus Christ, how do we know if these thoughts are from the Lord, from our own fleshly desires, or from ungodly sources? There must be a way to figure this out. If we could apply the appropriate filters to our thoughts, we could stop and trap the thoughts that were not from God and eliminate them. In doing so believers could ensure that the only godly thoughts would get through the filters. Paul wrote that we are to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
What follows in this book are two sections. The first section deals with the possibility of God speaking to believers and how to listen. The second section presents seven major filters for sorting out the believer’s thoughts. Some of these filters will seem obvious. However, they are often forgotten in the busyness of life.
Christians of all levels of spiritual maturity must understand the vital nature of filtering out our thoughts. A failure to filter out the ungodly thoughts can bring on all kinds of evil, pain, and suffering. The Scriptures are full of examples of people who have not filtered their thoughts and acted on impulse, as did David with Bathsheba. The Scriptures are also full of good examples of men who filtered some of the thoughts imposed by the world system, their own desires, and evil forces. All we need to do is look at the true prophets to see this. Prophets who spoke the truth of God without compromise in spite of the pressures put upon them to do just that.
“The Seven Filters” is a vital study for every believer. For the new believer, it will prepare a foundation for seeking to know and do the will of God. For the mature it will hone the skills of discernment. It will make the Christian walk a more productive and joyous experience for all.