Troublesome Topic: Association with the Impure Makes Me Impure

Lesson 4 of 10

If everything in the universe is either clean and holy, Common and clean, or Common and unclean, and if I want to be clean and holy, I need to be very careful what types of things I associate with.

We must constantly evaluate the spiritual condition of everything around us. We must keep in mind where we want to be and the status of things that influence us. There are many more influences in our lives than we realize. We absolutely must train ourselves to ask spiritual questions about things that do not seem spiritual because a vast majority of these things can influence us spiritually.

I must ask myself – Is this reading material going to move me downward or upward? Does this music draw me closer to God or to the world? Do the websites I visit take me in the wrong direction or the right direction? Do the movies and shows I watch help me spiritually or hurt me? Do the clothes I wear provide a good covering, or do they glorify my body? Is this school good for my child’s spiritual formation or will it be destructive? Are these friends a positive influence or a negative influence?

There is an anemic condition in the American church today due to a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is far too much association with the world, and a large part of that intimacy with the world comes from imbibing the world’s mental and spiritual diet through TV, videos, the leisurely use of internet and video games. If you are good at playing trivial pursuit then you should consider the possibility that, for a believer, you know far too much about entertainment, the arts, sports, leisure, and other things the world deems special. How does your knowledge of Biblical characters compare with your knowledge of actors and actresses? Do you know more about the prophets, or about sports legends? I fear that the majority of believers in America have spent far too much time getting cozy with the world, and therefore cannot seem to get close to God.

Am I saying no Christian can ever watch sports on TV? No, I am not saying that. I am striving to show that many followers of Christ at putting far more time, energy, and attention into their favorite sports teams (or other past time) than they are into reading the Bible and praying. They say that God is a high priority for them, but their use of time, energy and emotion proves otherwise. Many people who say they are Christians cannot find time to read the Bible, or  maybe they can only give 3 to 5 minutes to reading the Bible, yet they regularly spend hours watching a game. I am not saying it’s wrong to get excited while watching sports. Neither the sport not the emotions is impure. The problem is the lack of balance in priorities. If there is a proper balance of priorities, then watching sports is not a problem. I believe a proper balance should be plenty of time in God’s word and in prayer, and sports being a side issue. But without such balance, watching TV or riding the You Tube train will usually take you in the wrong direction, at first slowly, but later more rapidly. The reason watching sports can take us in the wrong direction is that it often feeds the self. Sports are not the problem by themselves. Self-centeredness is the problem, and we combat self-centeredness through the spiritual disciplines that get us closer to God.

In our lives there are things we can control and things we cannot. Here is a simple example: There are some people who live in a setting where they hear a constant flow of bad language. It takes prayer and a high level of mental focus to resist having that type of thing influence one’s mind. In this type of case it is dependent on one’s state of mind and self-discipline whether or not they are being “contaminated.” But to knowingly bring that type of thing into my home, and just watch or listen to it is to associate with evil, because I am not focused on blocking it out, I am absorbing it and enjoying it. This causes my mind to be full of contamination. Such association with things that displease God causes me to be impure before God. Even though Christ’s blood covers all sin, it does not remove from me the responsibility of keeping myself pure from evil. There is no way that absorbing negative influences cannot result in my relationship with God becoming cold and distant. I have chosen the example of foul language which is a rather mild problem compared to other problems that present themselves regularly through modern media.

Some people would say that our kids need to be exposed to at least some of the world in order to not over-indulge when they get out from under our protective care. While we have seen young people swing to the other extreme, I challenge you to support that idea from scripture! The biblical solution to worldliness is never more acquaintance with the world, neither is it being paranoid of the world; it is always greater closeness with God. I believe that most of the cases we have seen of young people over-indulging in worldliness when they get out on their own has been due to their failure to practice the key spiritual disciplines required for godliness; it cannot be blamed on their past.

The Former Covenant was clear about the issues of the pure and the impure. Certain parts of the New Testament show that those ideas carried over in principle. The question for us today is: How careful are we being about contamination from the world?

The next lesson in the Full and Medium series on Covenants is: Sin Is a Serious Thing

The next lesson in the Short series on Covenants is: Set Apart as Holy