“Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.” Psalm 119:53
When is the last time you were shocked at something that was done or said against God and what is taught in the Scripture?
If it has been a while, it may be that you have let yourself get too acclimated in this old world we are living in today.
I remember when Mark and I were house hunting in the Amazon. We had to find somewhere to rent or buy rather quickly because our time in language school was coming to an end and we were about to start in our first area of ministry there in Brazil.
We caught a boat from the capital of Manaus and headed up the Rio Negro. The trip took over 30 hours to arrive in our little town of Barcelos. It was early in the morning when we arrived and we walked all over the little streets, which had very few cars back then, maybe less than 10 if my memory serves me correctly. Most people had bicycles and canoes for transportation if they weren’t simply walking. I watched as boys passed me with dozens of fish strung on their bike handles as they sold them house to house. Others had baskets of fresh homemade bread loaves sticking out of a basket tied to the back of their bikes. Then there were the bikes with giant aluminum pots teetering on makeshift metal baskets. I stopped one to see what was inside and found fresh Açaí juice was being ladled out for $1 Brazilian Real. Women leaned out their porch windows and cleaned their brooms, others stared at me as they walked from their outhouses to their clothes lines.
It was definitely going to be a new life for me and our family. Nothing was familiar and this wasn’t a quick missions trip, this was going to be our home. I put on a brave face as my husband led me up to a molded concrete house that had an odd pointed design on it’s exterior walls. The man showing us the house was very excited that we were considering buying his house, but the more I saw of the structure, the more I felt a pit in my stomach. This is where I am supposed to bring my children? I thought to myself. I cringed at the little brown toilet with the pull flush string that was dirty from so many other hands before that had pulled it. The entire place looked like something out of a horror movie and as I pictured my babies crawling over the broken red floors I was convinced that there had to be somewhere better, or at least less dungeon like. But, Mark was all gung ho and ready to sign papers (men) and I just stared at him incredulously. He picked up on my mood (I really didn’t try and hide it) and we walked on to the next available house.
The next house was a yellow wooden house with a red roof, red ceilings and red concrete floors. If you know me, I LOVE yellow houses and am pretty convinced the mansion Jesus is preparing for me is indeed yellow as well, so I liked this little wooden house even if I hated the red roof, ceiling and floors. A tall, skinny picket type fence surrounded the property and I could see people watching us as we walked to the enclosed backyard to see the owners fruit trees and chickens. Mud was everywhere and the house was on the back side of town, but it had a clean indoor toilet and I was sold.
It wasn’t long before I was unpacking crates in that little house while my children played with the neighborhood kids their age. I set myself to getting everything put away and organized but getting used to the Amazonian heat was not an easy feat. I remember walking out back of the house to cool down in the shade of the fruit trees when I spotted my oldest daughter squatting in the middle of the yard. She was around 5 at the time and I asked her what she was doing. She said she was using the bathroom. I ran over and grabbed her and brought her to the house. She didn’t understand why I was so upset or about to scold her, so I brought it back a few notches and asked her why she thought it was okay to squat in the middle of the backyard in the sight of God and every brown peeping face through the fence.
She looked at me with her big green eyes and curly hair that was matted to her sweaty little face and she said, “Mommy, all my friends use the bathroom in their yards.” I couldn’t help but laugh a little as I realized the difference in culture would not be as shocking to my children as it was to me. It had seemed perfectly normal to my little girl to copy what she had seen others doing because she didn’t know a whole lot different. Unlike me, who had spent 30 years growing up in a nice home with hot water, indoor toilets and showers and ready available sinks with soap beside them for hand washing!
There was a difference in our perspectives because of our separate lives up to that point.
Katie thought it was normal to use the yard as a toilet but I was shocked and a little horrified. I would never even have considered it.
Our viewpoints on the same thing were polar opposites because of what we considered normal.
As Christians we are to be different. Romans 13 teaches us that we should cast off the works of darkness and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. When we obey this and begin walking after the Spirit, we will be able to see a difference in what is right and what is wrong. The longer we put ourselves to the task of “putting off” our old ways, we will begin to be horrified by what we used to think was “okay” behavior. And I am not talking about becoming some kind of works based, Amish looking person. I am simply referring to the walk we are SUPPOSED to have in Christ. It should be a clean, new, holy walk that keeps us from being caught up in the bondage of sin again.
If we are not shocked by the way Hollywood is constantly tearing down Christianity or the way it is apparently okay to swear by using our Saviour’s name now, then something is wrong with us. We need to take inventory of our walk and see if we have allowed ourselves to get to used to this world and it’s sinful philosophies.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that we should walk around and make others feel that they are appalling to us. We are NOT to stick our noses in the air and become Pharisees and hypocrites. But we SHOULD have the same view on sin that God does. Hate what He hates and live our lives accordingly.
I don’t imagine this will be a popular post. I imagine I will get a few messages, but if I am to obey the Bible and not make provision for my flesh, then I need to be separated enough from it that the thought of fulfilling the lusts of my flesh is horrifying to me. Otherwise, I will walk so closely to sinful behaviour that it might become normal to me and I will easily slide into that which has absolutely NOTHING to do with God and is ANTI God without a bat of an eye.
Oh, where are the Christians who identify with the psalmist today and are saddened by the Lord we are forsaking day after day? Let’s be different. We are not our own, we are bought with a price, let us not forget what we have been saved from and what we are to be living towards.
Until Next Time, Lord willing,