Monday, March 02, 2015

A Thought for Monday 2 March 2015

The works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like … those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God … those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:19-23a; 24 NKJV

In last night’s study of Joshua, we encountered the battle of Jericho.  The city and much of what was in the city was “devoted to destruction” (6:18).  The people of Israel were warned to leave those things “devoted to destruction” alone, tempting and harmless though they may seem.  One man, however, was so tempted; and having taken some of those things “devoted to destruction”, he became himself “devoted to destruction” because these forbidden things were in his possession.

So the question was posed: what are things in our lives “devoted to destruction”, yet we embrace without a thought or believe them to be harmless?  Those things we hold on to for any number of reasons and have taken for granted for so long that we hardly notice these things and their potential for spiritual destruction?  I dare say there may be more in our lives than we probably realize, and little has to do with ‘stuff’ though there is that as well.

When The Lord returns, that which is “devoted to destruction” will be finally and completely destroyed.  So we are compelled, especially in the discipline that is the season of Lent, to evaluate every facet of our lives, our homes, our being to determine what we embrace that is clearly “devoted to destruction”, and those practices or things that by our own doing lead us to destruction.  Of St. Paul’s list, little of it has to do with ‘stuff’.  It has more to do with attributes, or “works”, of the flesh; the things we do with hardly a thought.  Yet “those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God”!  (Do you notice St. Paul does not mention “chocolate” at all??  Nor does he offer excuses or exceptions to those who claim to be “saved”.)

We must not make light of spiritual practices and put forth no effort to learn more about ourselves and our devotion to The Lord (or lack thereof).  Giving up chocolate or other such innocuous things for Lent means we do not take the spiritual practices seriously, and we fool only ourselves.  Those things that directly contribute to our spiritual destruction or those things that have potential to lead us and our children away from The Lord are those things which much be seriously evaluated and, if necessary, intentionally destroyed.  .

So what in our lives is already “devoted to destruction”?  Those things we must get rid of before The Lord gets rid of those things – and those who embrace them? 

Sorry to be a little heavy, but sometimes we make too much light of things that must be taken more seriously; and a life of faith is no joke nor a walk in the park with no thought and no effort and with only fairies and magic dust; and sin is no punch line.  Marriages fall apart every single day because one spouse took the other for granted for too long.  Why would we think the marriage between the Bridegroom (Christ) and the Bride (the Church) would be no different by serial neglect?

We must not redefine love in a vain effort to accommodate those things that clearly drive a wedge between us and our devotion to The Lord and to one another through the Church, and we must finally and completely reject the “bumper sticker theology” that has no biblical merit but makes us feel good about ourselves!  You want people to stop laughing at Christianity?  We must stop playing ourselves as fools and jesters to be laughed at.

And that is the plain truth.


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