“SIDE-TRACKED TO SAFETY”

WORDS FROM W.W. March 8, 2011

I’ve noticed in numerous television shows and films I’ve viewed in recent months that when there is a conflictual conversation that is starting to develop the scene changes, or sometimes music deadens the tension on the screen. A conversation that is about to become heated just ends and the scene goes to a commercial or what someone else is doing.
It’s kind of like this:
MOM: So did you steal that twenty dollar bill that I had on the counter?
SON: (pause) What’s for dinner tonight?
MOM: Does that mean yes?
SON: (stares at his iPod) We haven’t had pork chops in a while.
MOM: (stares at son staring at iPod) I just don’t understand.
(Music starts. Scene switch to Burger King commercial.)

There is a side-tracking to safety. Depth is extremely uncomfortable! Better to focus on the dinner menu!
How often does my relationship with Jesus mirror that? When the Holy Spirit is “stirring the pot” of my life it is convenient to focus on the silverware. When I have opportunities to draw close to the presence of God and experience an intimate moment of being fully-focused on Him, there always seems to be something that has the potential to draw me away from Him.
Instead of the spiritual meat I stare at a water spot on the spoon. Instead of closeness I look off into the distance.
Quite honestly, churches are notorious for this very thing. The Body of Christ has the awesome privilege to be the residence of the presence of God, to gather together for an audience with the Holy; but we are prone to play it safe and focus on other things such as the color of the drapes, and the length, or brevity, of the worship service. There will always be something that seems more urgent than an encounter with God! It might be the type of translation that scripture is being read from, or the temperature of the room, or the noise that someone in the third row is making…there will always be something that is of a “trivial urgency” that has the potential to keep us from getting to close to the heart of God.
Such things occurred on a regular basis in the early church. Paul addresses the safe side-tracks quite often in his writings. Christians got on the nerves of other Christians. As they lived day to day in close proximity to one another they created lists of personal pet peeves- people getting all crazy in worship, sue-happy brothers in Christ, a couple of women who kept bickering with one another, losing the intimacy of the Lord’s Supper because people were unashamedly gluttons.
To focus on our relationship with Jesus is what we long for, and yet, what we most often avoid.
Do you hear the music beginning, and the scene changing? We’ve adopted the revised saying “Better safe…than soul-searching!”
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. May we seek to not play it safe, but seek first first his kingdom and his righteousness.

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