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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Paying Close Attention

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (Hebrews 2:1)

Paying more careful attention involves recognizing dangerous ways of drifting. Busyness that keeps us from spiritual disciplines and promotes a neglectful lifestyle is one way. Another way we drift away from God is by being "desensitized". When Satan cannot tempt us to sin outright, he desensitizes us to sin, so that we live closer and closer to the edge, rather than closer and closer to God. As we are desensitized to sin, it does not look as horrendous, thereby not shocking us. I'm sure we have all been in one of those, "I remember when that was considered terrible", type conversations at one time or another. There are words that we use, things that we watch, materials that we read, topics we discuss, activities we participate in, that were once considered vulgar, or dangerous, but now we consider them common place, no big deal. Our involvement and use of such things was subtle. It is like a slow methodical poisoning. A person is not given a lethal dose all at once. Rather they are given small amounts over a period of time until the amount in their body is lethal and takes their life.

A newspaper in Georgia ran a story several years ago about a young boy who had died in a local hospital. A police officer was driving down the road when he saw this young lad walking along carrying a long string of fish he had caught. The boy seemed to be laboring under the task so the officer stopped and ask the boy if he'd like a ride. The boy was delighted. As they traveled the officer ask the boy where he had caught so many fish. The boy told the man with great delight. The officer said he had fished there many times but never had a catch like that. The boy responded that it wasn't the spot, but the wonderful worms he dug up that morning. They were the best bait. As the boy was talking the officer noticed that the boys hands were extremely swollen. He quickly ask the boy what the worms looked like. The boy having a few left, opened the bag he had them in and showed the officer. The officer looked in to find, not worms, but baby rattlesnakes. He ask the boy if he had felt anything when he reached in to get the bait. The boy replied that he felt very sharp pain at first, but the bait worked so well and after a while he didn't feel it so much. The officer immediately changed his course and drove the youngster to the nearest hospital. Sadly the boy died. One or two bites would not have hurt him, but he had been bitten so many times that the poison was too much for his system.

This is what is taking place in all to many. We like to call these changes "openness", "enlightenment", or "maturity". In reality, the majority of them are compromises and complacency. We are drifting away from the holiness. We are being methodically desensitized and deluded. It has come to the point where Christians aren't even recognizable. Barnard took a poll and found that non-churched people saw no significant difference in the way Christians live from the way they live. There are many factors to this, but one is that we have drifted away from the center. Too many Christians are more concerned how close they can get to sin and still remain a Christian than they are how close they can get to God. We are frightened about being considered a fanatic. Beloved, we need to pay more careful attention. The snake is biting, but we're not paying attention.

Keep Close To Jesus
Pastor Gerry

A Pause To Ponder God's Word
is written and distributed by Gerald Whetstone, Ordained Elder and teacher in the Church of the Nazarene. These devotionals may be transmitted, duplicated, used in part or in entirety without permission for nonprofit purposes only.


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