Friday, August 22, 2003
Years ago, some friends of mine lived near this industrial area where the mills filled the air with a very distinctive "aroma" -- no, "smell." I mean, it was this sulfur-like odor -- sort of like the smell of rotten eggs. When you first went to that neighborhood, you'd sniff and say, "What's that?" And my friends would say, "What's what?" See, they had lived around that stench for so long that it didn't even register on them anymore!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Smell You Should Never Get Used To."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ezekiel 9:2, and it describes a kind of person God was looking for back then -- and the kind of person He is looking for right now, where you are. God is showing His prophet Ezekiel how repulsive the sin of God's ancient people is to Him and how He intends to bring judgment and clean house.
Ezekiel describes this "man clothed in linen" who is to, "Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." God said then, and He still says now, "At a time when sin is everyday stuff, and nobody is paying much attention to any more, I am looking for some people who don't gloss over sin, but people who grieve over sin." They were hard to find then, and they're hard to find now. They were special people then; they're special people now.
So many of us who belong to Jesus are like my friends who lived in that heavily polluted neighborhood -- we're around the stench so much we hardly notice the smell anymore! Chances are you come in contact with a lot of sinful garbage each day; lying or cheating that's just considered smart business, a flippant attitude toward sexual purity or adultery, people treating God's Name or Jesus' Name like dirt. That's Jesus -- the name at which every knee shall bow! You're around the idolatry of loving money and loving things. You're around plenty of bitter attitudes, anger, racial prejudice, backstabbing.
Maybe you've been around the stench of sin so much that it doesn't break your heart anymore. But it breaks your Savior's heart. He had to endure hell on His cross to pay for all that garbage, to give us a chance to be saved from it. And His Holy Spirit lives inside you if you belong to Jesus, and He's grieving over all that sin that you may have grown numb to.
It needs to bother us that sin doesn't bother us as it should. We need to pray, "God, give me back my spiritual sense of smell!" Unless we daily get with Jesus and see what He sees, our sensitivity to sin will slowly be worn down and eroded, until sin doesn't really look that bad.
Imagine telling drunk-driving jokes to a man who suddenly stops you and says, "A drunk driver killed my son." Well, the sinful stuff we've almost become immune to killed God's Son - and He doesn't take it lightly. We can't either.
Ask God to make you, as Romans 16:19 says, "wise about what is good ... innocent about what is evil." Innocent about it, rather than intrigued by it. Sin stinks! It's the rotting odor of death, no matter how glamorously it's perfumed. Don't get used to the smell!