Wednesday, May 3, 2006
One of the wonderful gifts the Lord has given us in our Ministry Headquarters is a great studio for producing our radio programs. As our building was being built, the builders had to keep the concrete floor of the studio area separate from the floor of the rest of the building. It's called a floating floor, which simply means that the studio floor is totally isolated from the floor under everything else. The reason? A radio studio has to have an environment where no outside sound affects what you're recording. So to help create a totally controlled sound environment, you have a floating floor so other sounds won't travel through the floor and infect the studio area. If you want a pure sound, you have to isolate yourself from all outside vibrations.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Close - But Not Compromised."
You and I face a challenge that is not unlike the challenge of building a radio studio. There are vibrations all around us that can really mess things up. And they will if we don't isolate ourselves from bad vibrations. The Beach Boys hit said, "I'm picking up good vibrations." We get in spiritual trouble when we start picking up bad vibrations.
Which is why Jesus prayed for His followers the way He did in our word for today from the Word of God. It's in John 17 beginning with verse 15. Jesus said to His Father, as he prayed for all of us who would follow Him, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth."
Jesus is concerned here about the sin vibrations we would pick up from the world around us. So He prays that the Father will protect us from what the evil one is trying to poison our lives with. But notice what He doesn't pray. Jesus doesn't pray that we would be totally separate from the world, or withdrawn to a spiritual island where we have no contact with the people He died for.
Let's go back to our radio studio. It's not in a separate building. It sits right in the middle of everything else that's going on; in the middle of vibrations that could infect its purity. It's in the building, but it's not connected to the building. The studio is in contact with the rest of the building, but it's not infected by the rest of the building. To put it in a few words, it's close but not compromised.
That's how Jesus described how our relationship should be with the lost world and the lost people around us. We shouldn't be retreating into a world that's totally separate. Later in this same prayer, Jesus prays for "those who will believe in Me through their message." Now, obviously, we can't be bringing people to believe in Him if we're not with them. Jesus calls us to purity in the middle of impurity, not on an island totally separated from the people who need us most. We are supposed to be, well, like a certain radio studio I know - close but not compromised.
How do we protect ourselves from the deadly erosion of sin and godless values, and self-centered living? Jesus said we would be sanctified - that means set apart - not by total isolation but by total immersion in God's truth. And, as Jesus said, "Your word is truth." At the beginning of every new day, you look at your life, your yesterday, your today, and your choices in light of what you read that morning in His Word.
At the end of each day, you again open His Word and you let it be the shower that cleanses you from any dirt you may have picked up in your behavior, your attitude, your thoughts. Continual cleansing is what will keep you clean, not living in a room with no dirt.
Close to a dying world, but not compromised by it. It's a delicate balance. But Jesus won't allow us either extreme; becoming like our environment or retreating from our environment. He calls you to the great spiritual challenge of infecting your world with Jesus without letting your world infect you.