by Pastor Tim Burt
Our local car wash has free vacuums with fantastic suction hoses that are great for cleaning your car. But they can also suck up a pen or something that I don’t want to be sucked up. The world is like that vacuum in that it’s always trying to suck Christians into worldly lifestyles that corrupt and steal from this life and undermine the blessed life Jesus wants us to experience.
I have heard too many Christians say things like, “Oh well, what can I do? Times have changed. Open and greater sexuality is just a part of life. It’s everywhere! Do you expect me to be a monk?” Or, “You can’t watch TV without seeing sexuality and hearing profanity. You can’t find a movie without it, so I might as well accept it and get used to it. I can handle it—it won’t hurt me. Or, I work with people who swear and tell dirty jokes and talk freely about their sexual exploits all the time. It’s a part of my daily life, so I don’t see the big deal if I watch it on TV or in the movies. It’s not going to hurt me!”
People who think they are immune from corrupt sources affecting them are lying to themselves. They’ve already experienced spiritual setbacks and either know it or have become hardened and are blind to it. 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV) says, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
The Apostle Paul warns us in Ephesians 5:3-11 NIV, writing, “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things, God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have NOTHING to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”
I remember as a young Christian learning to read the Bible and reading these words for the first time. In a moment’s time, I went from feeling saved by Jesus, to feeling unsaved. I was so far from living what these scriptures called for that I instantly felt condemned. The standard the Apostle Paul was instructing us to live by felt impossible. I was convinced I couldn’t live the Christian life—that it was impossible for me to accomplish.
Let’s get this straight! God loves us! The depth of His love, mercy, and grace is incomprehensible! Condemnation is not His plan or message to us! His intention in these verses is not about condemnation but warning us from a position of love that these evils will influence us. They will get in our head. They will make their way to our hearts. They will have an impact on our walk with God. There is no argument. This is a fact! The cry of God’s love is trying to protect us from being lured into and taken captive by Satan.
The Apostle Paul wasn’t training us to be condemners of other’s sins but to be self-examers of what is going on in our hearts by looking at what we are allowing into our temple of the Holy Spirit and helping us examine if we are on the fence. Living on the fence with one foot in both worlds is a spiritual nightmare.
When people feel caught living between sin and righteousness, it’s a sign they’ve already strayed from God. Revelation 3:15-16 (TLB) says, “I know you well—you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!” And so the love of God cries out to us saying, “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17 (NIV)
I had to learn to go all out for God or not at all. I learned to make Bible reading, prayer, attending church (where the Bible was taught), commitment in service to God in some capacity, fellowship with other Christians, and being the light of Jesus Christ with those around me the standard and priorities I would live my life by. All these things combined became the source of strength and grace I needed! They also became the shield to help me walk out the Apostle Paul’s instructions. I am not saying it was easy. It wasn’t. But it was right. It was pleasing to God, and this is why Jesus said, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24 (NIV) ).
You may be in a workplace or daily surroundings filled with ungodly influences, but you don’t have to cave into them. You can stand strong in the Lord today! You can be the light in the darkness. You can be an influence that helps others while helping yourself. I guarantee you that as you look back ten years from now, you’ll have a smile. You will have grown in your walk with God and touched lives along the way. You will have experienced greater blessing, and your heart will be overflowing with thanksgiving to God for His mercy and grace, helping you to become separate and an influence for Him! Your light will break the darkness around you! So don’t get sucked in. Be one who stands out for the Lord and shines! Be that!
Eph. 5:10-11 (NLT), “Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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