Sometimes we prefer our messages minced—into soft little bite-sized pieces that go down without much thought or pain or conviction. Painless. Isn't that just the human way? To crave the sense of virtue that comes from hearing the Word preached, but shy from any obligation to be changed by it? To be convicted?
This world and Satan have a grip on us, even if we're free of their condemning chains. This world and Satan nurture a love of the wrong things in us, an aversion to the right ones, and an attachment to so many distractions we catch ourselves spending more time tangled in the temporal than we do in the eternal. And why?
James wasn't one to mince words, and he lays it out pretty clearly in his letter to the Christians scattered abroad:
You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? ~Jas. 5:4
"Adulterers." Yuy. I don't know about you, but for me, that word strikes deep and hard. I know this is a struggle area for me, my passion is constantly chasing innocent-but-ultimately-insignificant distractions, and I think I needed this reminder of the seriousness of allowing worldly pursuits to take God's place. It's more than a weakness; if we allow that to become the pattern that defines our Christian lives—a string of pointless pleasures connected by some prayers and sermons here and there—we're cheating on our first love. We're being unfaithful to our bridegroom even before the wedding—right before His eyes.
We are supposed to be in the world but not of it, to set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth. To seek first the Kingdom of God, and love not the world that houses us temporarily. And that's hard—I mean, we live here. We work and eat and sleep and learn and buy and laugh and live here! How are we supposed to function between now and heaven without participating in the world we're passing through?
While hearing this message preached, I was struck with a visual of floating. I imagined myself moving through this world, as we all must, but instead of having my feet firmly on worldly ground, to get tangled in distractions or bogged down in temptations, I drifted above all that. My mind was in heavenly realms, and it buoyed me—allowed me to float above the hazards of the world while I fulfilled my pilgrimage here.
The visual hasn't left me, and neither has the message. I want to learn to float, to fulfill my mission in this world without being stained or snared by it, and to ultimately remain true to my Bridegroom above and beyond all else.
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