Friday, January 10, 2014
Today’s Topic: Character Can Be Corrupted
Today’s Text: 2 Corinthians 7:1 “Since we have these promises dear friend, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit; perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
I want to share with you this morning a devotional from Ron Hutchcraft that I heard on the radio this morning. It challenged me, as I pray it will you. It’s called “The Stink Takes Over.”
I checked the bread drawer and it was still there, but there was a smell! Our daughter was visiting and she put in a bagel order with her aunt. She said, “I want an onion bagel.” Well, somehow that onion bagel spent a few days in that bread drawer before it finally disappeared. Oh, the bagel was gone, but the smell remained. Well, that’s not correct. Oh, no! In fact, the taste wasn’t even gone. That little round stinker flavored every bagel in the drawer. So they all tasted like onion bagels now. I even had a bag of Starburst candies in the bread drawer, (Don’t ask me why.) and guess what? You should try those with a little onion flavor! Yum, yum! Who would have guessed that one thing could stink up and flavor everything?
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Corinthians 7:1 . God says here, “Since we have these promises dear friend, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit; perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” Now, God gives here a pretty interesting standard for deciding what you will allow your body to do; what you will allow your mind to take in. Will it contaminate you?
Contaminate makes me think of a germ or a bacteria. It only takes this little guy to bring down a much larger body. Or, for some reason, I also think of an onion bagel. There’s no way to let it into that drawer without it infecting everything around it. That’s why it really matters what you watch, what you listen to, what you read, who you spend time with, what you do for entertainment, what you laugh at.
Oh, you may think you can contain the trash they carry. You say, “Oh, it’s no big deal. I can handle it.” But sin is highly infectious. What began as just a passing thought ultimately becomes a desire, and desire ultimately becomes a sin you never thought you’d do. That’s why the Bible says, “Don’t give the devil a foothold.” The devil just wants you to think about it, then want it, then do it, and then pay for it.
Maybe you’re underestimating the corrupting, contaminating power of a little compromise. You can’t afford that dirty joke, that dirty picture, a powerful video image or something on the Internet, a rumor about someone, a strong song about something that’s wrong. See, you can’t afford to let the stink in. You may feel a little defensive about some of the input that you’re letting in, but ask yourself a few questions about what you watch, what you listen to, what you read, what you laugh at, who you hang around with.
We don’t like to be challenged on these things, but ask these kinds of questions, “Is it making me a little harder than I was before? Am I becoming a little more tolerant of sinful things that I never used to put up with? Am I flirting mentally with some things I know are wrong? Am I finding the good things less interesting and more boring? Is my heart getting a little colder toward Jesus?” That’s the power of contamination.
You know why? Because in the verses proceeding what we read today, in chapter 6, verses 16-18, God says, “I live in you. You are my people. You are my sons and daughters. Therefore, don’t touch any unclean thing.” In other words, do you know who you are? Then purify yourself from everything that contaminates. You’re too good for this. You’re too special for this. You were too expensive to God for this.
So, back to my smelly bread drawer, some onion-tasting candies to prove that a little bad influence can spread very quickly. It can spoil everything. Look, if you’re letting into your body or into your mind anything that smells spiritually, get rid of it now. It could ruin what you never meant for it to touch.
Thanks Ron, for the challenge to not let Christ’s character be exposed to corruption.