I recently read a quote by Albert Einstein that went as follows:
“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.”Yes, that is about women, but regardless, it makes an asexual point.
An author named Leslie Ludy wrote in a book called "When God Writes Your Love Story," (sappy title, great book) that she and her husband authored,
"If God is preparing you to make an impact on this world for His kingdom, chances are He will take you through a season of solitude. This is a season when you learn that you can't lean upon anyone but Him for your confidence and when you gain the strength to stand alone even when no one else stands with you."This statement is similar in nature; when we stand apart, we live apart, we live differently, we don't have typical, sociological conformities that we so commonly seek. We, by association (or rather, lack thereof), become something wholly different.
This is not a call to absolute social avoidance, nor to forsake fellowship with other believers. Those two things are of much importance. But this is a statement of forsaking worldly things.
Within the walls of a "church building," there should be no worldly things. None. There should be absolution, white and black, nothing more, nothing less.
What ever gave the Church the idea that murky water is not only acceptable, but good?
There should be no distinguishing features between us and the world? Lies!
"Innocent enough" is the most dangerous term ever conceived by the dark lord of Hell himself (also known as "The Adversary"), and we have let this into our lives.
Santa Claus is "innocent enough." The Easter Bunny is "innocent enough." What doesn't hurt us can't truly be that bad for us, right?
My stance has always been that those things had no place in the church, but i see that idea was dangerous, though true in entirety. The church is a building, nothing more. An adult entertainment store can be moved into a vacant building that was once a church; a church can be in the same building that a liquor store once inhabited. It's just a building, a hollow shell that means nothing.
The Temple was destroyed, and three days later He built the Temple inside of us! The veil was torn; the Holy of Holies is within your heart; the place where even the high priest was to enter only once a year due to the unadulterated presence of God. And we somehow forget this, thinking instead that we must be more holy in the building that will eventually crumble and fall.
So again i say but with a more individualistic scope, these things have no place in the Temple of the Lord. They have no place in me.
"Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways."That's Psalm 119:37.
"I will not set before my eyesThat's Psalm 101:3.
anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me."
These are not things "innocent enough," but rather "worthless." This is anything without worth. Anything not of God, we are to turn our eyes from, and there's no footnote saying "within the building called church."
A preacher named Mattie Montgomery said something along the lines of, "There are three kinds of food; things that are bad for us, things that have no nutritional merit, and things that are good for us. The difference between people is this; the non-believer will eat the things bad for their spirit, the Christian will eat things that are neither good or bad, and the set apart follower of Christ will eat only the things good the their spirit."
It's no coincidence i'm posting this on February 2nd, 2014; the Superbowl is airing. And churches around the nation are "redeeming" this event.*
So have your fill, hollow buildings full of Christians, of sports (need i mention that any outspoken Christian athlete will be mocked?). Have your fill of scantily-clad women thrusting their chests and pelvic regions. Have your fill of these things so ardently of the world. And redeem them unto yourselves.
Don't forget to redeem yourselves to God, though.
As part of the Church, the congregation of Christ that has no architectural limits, i am ashamed to say that i sometimes waste time on worthless ventures. But look for me on a stage speaking of their merits and you're exercising futility. Look for me forsaking time for fellowship to speak of them, and you will look in vain. Ask me to give any immeritous (i realize the accepted spelling is immeritus, but immeritous seems the more proper) thing up, and i will gladly.
A lovely worship band called My Epic has a song that mentions that Christ took on our form and died with it, and that the only thing God didn't resurrect with Him was our shame.
Many of us, as the Church, have learned to justify anything because Christ justified the everything that we are. But what wasn't resurrected with Christ was the shame that He bore for us. This does not justify anything of the world; it sets a dividing line (or a sword, if you will, as Jesus said He came to bring) between the world and what our interest should be set upon.
Worldly things or Godly things.
Bad things or good things.
Worthless things or worthy things.
There is a sharp contrast, and no gray.
We can claim to justify things for the sake of drawing people in to hear the Gospel, but as much as the Gospel is coming into their lives through things like Halloween events and Superbowl broadcasts, we're inviting worldly things into the church building, and the more these worthless things are there, the more comfortable we become with them in the Temple of God--the more comfortable we become with them in us.
*I'm not opposed to football or pro sports or anything like that. I find them a waste of time, yes, but i do have issues with trying to justify them as good or even not worthless, and i have issues with Christians glorifying them or inviting them into a "House of Prayer." It's either a House of Prayer or it's not, it doesn't work both ways.