THE FRACTURING INFLUENCE OF WORLDLINESS
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” James 4:8 NLT
Martin Luther once threw an inkwell at the devil. Crazy, right – to throw a physical object at a spirit being? Or is it? Could it be a symbolic gesture of his frustration with the constant and unrelenting pressure placed on all of us by the world, our flesh, and that guy who was the target of Luther’s inkwell? (see Romans 7:19) In these early blog posts for the UnDEFILED Movie project, we are looking at the origins of what I will label in this post, FRACTURE. My mother had many favorite sayings that she used to impart wisdom to a boy growing up. One of her favorites was, “Oh, that’s so worldly!” I confess that I didn’t know what “in the world” she was talking about, other than the carefully selected list of sins that represented our legalistic faith practice at the time (do’s and don’ts). But I think I have a handle on it now. We all reach a point of FRACTURE in our image-bearing. All of us! The cause of the fracture may not be the same for any two individuals but FRACTURED we become. At the risk of oversimplification, the source of that fracture in the mirror of our “image-bearing” is IDOLATRY. If I told you that everybody worships – that no one doesn’t worship – that worship is hardwired into our DNA – would you believe me? I think it is true. But, as James succinctly points out in the verse above, that worship sometimes becomes an admixture of God and the world and, hence the definition of my mother’s admonition.
While throwing things at the idols in our lives might not be the best strategy, James has a much better idea. Let’s close by examining his biblical formula for getting “UNFRACTURED” and putting God back where only He belongs (Ex. 20:3-5): 1. “Draw near to God” – Pursue an intimate love relationship that fills the vacuum left by the false god. (Phil 3:10) 2. “Cleanse your hands” – This involves repentance, confession, and humility. 3. “Purify your hearts” – Old Testament priests had to wash their hands before approaching God ceremonially. That was external. This refers to the heart (Ps. 51:10) Prayer Focus: Father, help me to throw a “spiritual inkwell” at those things which FRACTURE your image in me.