A Callused Spirit

A Callused Spirit
Christian brothers and sisters; are we trying too hard to be well liked? Are we making too much of an effort to fit in to the current culture?
In the spring a man went out to work in the garden. The ground was hard, so he got out his shovel and his hoe and started to breaking up the clods of dirt. In a very short time his hands began to hurt. They were scraped and developed painful blisters. But he kept up with the work and before long calluses began to develop so that there was less discomfort. By the end of the summer, his hands were fully callused. His skin had become so tough that he could work all day long without any pain.
Our hearts tend be like the hands of that workman. What at first offends the Christian conscience, with daily exposure, slowly becomes less and less offensive. The conscience becomes callused.

The world we live in is changing. Watch old movies and television programs. At one time, viewers witnessed only chaste kisses, few violent crimes and never a curse word. Watch today's programs and movies. Most show explicit sexual encounters, gory, excruciating murders, greed and debauchery. There is rarely a primetime TV program where someone does not take the Lord's name in vain.

The problem is, we welcome it into our homes in our favorite TV programs. We call it entertainment and laugh at it. Watch the nightly news to see all of this played out in reality, on a national level.

What is the cumulative effect of this constant exposure? Promiscuity is so common place that it has become the norm. Many Christian singles believe that living together before marriage is the smart thing to do both financially and as a test of compatibility. Christians accept violence in their video games. Christian children and adults become involved in 'innocent' sin; whether it is cheating on a test or on a tax return or telling a small untruth in an effort to get ahead.

How much exposure to violence, sex, dishonesty and disrespect does it take before we lose the feeling of offense? When do we stop feeling the sorrow of the sin? When we first meet Jesus and our faith is new, the Holy Spirit lets us know each time we sin by a nagging conscience. However, as we ignore him often enough, we become so desensitized that we no longer feel his sorrow. Our spirits become callused.

In Romans chapter 12, verse 2, Paul advises that we should not conform to the pattern of this world but rather be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We are also told that we are to hate what is evil and cling to what is good. Romans 12:9.

How is our mind renewed? By prayerfully requesting God's help, and by reading God's word. "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword ... it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Until Jesus returns and we all go Home, Christians have no choice but to live in an evil world. We do have a choice of whether we will let the evil affect our own behavior. Instead, we are to be a Christ-like example to those who do not know him. Paul says in Romans 16:19, "I want you to be wise in that which is good and innocent in that which is evil.'

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