Simplicity, Separation, Peace
Crying Out for the 'Good Old Days'
2 Corinthians 6:7
"Therefore, "Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
Back in the Old Days.
The way it used to be.
The "New Testament" Church.
When things were simple.
There is much to be said for our current wave of technological advances. There is simply no arguing its intrinsic benefits. Areas such as health care, communication, emergency response and so much more have benefited in such a way that mankind is far better off. But at the same time technology can be a curse.
What technology has a tendency to do is detach us from our focus on Jesus - and everything else for that matter.
When I was a young boy, Star Trek (reruns that is, I'm not that old...) was a popular TV show, and I remember having to watch it before my Dad got home from work, because I knew he's have been made for 'wasting my time' watching such fantasy. Yet today, we carry more technology in our pockets than most of the original drew of Star Trek carried among the whole landing party. Cell phones have surpassed what communicators did. Medical teams have testing kits and health evaluator systems that do all that the Star Trek® Tricorder did. Granted we have not perfected the hand-held plasma-beam phaser yet, but we do have concealable hand held weapons systems that will do the same damage or more. Technology. Wow.
Technology however, like anything else can be a time-sucker. It pulls us in, feeds our intellect, seeks favor from our flesh, boosts our pride, and becomes the 'go-to' thing for us in life, rather than Christ.
I'm as guilty as the next guy. I'm somewhat 'gadget sensitive'. I'm iPhone and iPad literate, and use them to my advantage, and there are many advantages. But I find myself fighting the time I spend on such things. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being up to date with the latest technology. What is wrong is when it sidelines us from our purpose in life - to love Jesus, worship Him, and pass on that good news to others.
I spent a short (and wet) holiday at the Washington coast a while back. While I find gambling for entertainment or profit generally distasteful (and typically not a proper use of our money or being a good steward with what God has given us), going to a Washington State beach in March or April is much the same. It's like shooting Craps. Well, on the weather front, we 'Crapped out'. The weather stunk pretty much the entire time we were there; and yet it was a most beautiful time.
I snuggled closely to my bride of nearly 20 years in the cool wintery air under the cover of a 'zipped-together' sleeping bag. I had great conversation with my children, played some games, cruised the beach, ate some hotdogs, conversed over some great meals and thoroughly enjoyed every minute while frolicking in the mostly pouring rain. Why? - because I separated myself from the things of the world that tie me to the distractions of my day to day life. In turn, allowed myself to view every minute through the eyes of my relationship with Jesus.
When we arrived at the State Park, the weather was cloudy and foggy, but still not a solid rain. Once we had unloaded and settled in for the 3 night stay, I walked to a small bench on the tops of the dunes to overlook the beach and Pacific. As I walked to the bench I was praying. I was praying for the weather to stay nice, for safety in our family play, for a general covering of the Holy Spirit while we spent our time away from home, and one more thing; that the Lord would speak to me, giving me direction in leading the church body in our next mid-week bible study.
Walking to that bench, and in the midst of prayer God did speak to me. He did answer me. But the answer left me asking more. God spoke one word to me, and that word was 'separate'.
Separate, what did that mean? I began to ponder and mediate just on that one word. To separate; to not be a part of something "bigger", to not be part of the normal trend, to not be part of what was standard. Well, in those thoughts I understood the connection to mean being separate from the things of the world.
But as I continued my thoughts on that word I realized that the biblical term for separate is sanctified. Sanctified means to be separate, set apart.
In the biblical sense to be separated from the world, the flesh and the things of the world that lead us away from God and point us towards sin, we must make a conscious and constant effort to make Jesus first and foremost in all things. If we are to be identified as followers of Christ Jesus, we must not be seen as just another bleating sheep of the world, but a bleeding sheep of Christ, set apart from the world, and joyfully joining in His sufferings. A thought that will sadly not get taught on many 'Christian" churches today.
This same thought is translated through the letter of I Peter. The fiery trials will come, but we must find joy. It is our duty to find joy. We must find joy in daily struggles to find time to be with your wife and children, because there is our peace. We must separate from the world to find the time to spend with God, and there we will find joy. We must separate ourselves from the ways of the flesh and the world if we are to make a difference for the kingdom of God, and there, and only there, will we find the peace that surpasses all understanding, and the living hope that is our eternity in Heaven. To God be the Glory!