Posted by: Rodney Shaw | August 17, 2009

Erosion

A wave rolls in, falls down on the beach, and slides back out to sea. No one wave seems to talk in more than a whisper, but all together they roar. Though the sea can do sudden and drastic damage in an angry fit, its usual course is to burnish the beach. Each wave takes only a few grains of sand, and those only a few inches. Over and over and over; all day, every day; week after week; month in and month out; the years roll by. Each wave is a negotiation between the sea and the shore. The waves don’t tire. Given enough time, their job will be done. Eventually, the beach moves.

The world is the sea, ever beating against us. We too can be worn down, sometimes ever so slowly. Whether we realize it or not, erosion is taking place; whether it be the repetition of the gentle, lapping waves or the sudden destruction of a typhoon. Over the course of time we become immune to it, like riding a motorcycle headlong into a locust swarm and wondering if it is beginning to sprinkle.

There is hardly anything in North American culture that will push a person closer to God. Capitalism, environmentalism, entertainment, the Internet, television, Sea World, shopping malls, vacations, talk radio, social networking sites, and everything else that is particularly suited for our pleasure is often diametrically opposed to our spiritual life. Like the waves that pound the beach, the relentless beating of our culture wears away at our sensibilities as well as our spirituality. As the title of a popular song says, It’s a slow fade.

Inspired wisdom says one cannot love God and love the world—or the things that are in the world—at the same time. But the waves have dulled our senses.

If we do not love the world or the things that are in the world, why are we so discontented with the things that we have?

If we do not love the world or the things that are in the world, why are we in debt?

If we do not love the world or the things that are in the world, why do we save, plan, and borrow to get bigger and “better” things?

If we do not love the world or the things that are in the world, why do we feel cheated when we cannot have newer and more things?

If we do not love the world or the things that are in the world, why do we envy those who have more than we?

If we do not love the world or the things that are in the world, why is it that we cannot seem to do without any of it for any extended period of time?

If we do not love the world or the things that are in the world, what would it look like if we did?

What would older saints think about the institution now called Christianity? What would our Pentecostal ancestors from 100 years ago think? What would the great revivalists think? What would the early American Christians think? What would the apostles think?

To stand on the outside of American culture and evaluate the state of things, one would be quite shocked at how desperate the situation has become. A Christian from some other place or time might ask: Do professing Christians really take off most of their clothes and swim together with friends, fellow church-goers, and absolute strangers of the opposite sex? Do their women actually reveal most of their legs, all of their arms, and their cleavage while going to the grocery store? Do they actually wear tight-fitting clothes which leave nothing to be imagined? Is it true that some women so dressed move about on a stage while leading a congregation in what has come to be known as worship? Do men actually volunteer to work extra hours during regular meetings of the church so they can have extra money to buy things? Is it true that parents leave their children with pagan tutors all day so they both can work to earn more money in order to buy more nonessential things? Can it be that they are not content with the earthly possessions they have? Is it so that Christians watch the portrayal of homosexuality, adultery, fornication, murder, embezzlement, gratuitous violence, and most every other sin for entertainment?

Waves have always beaten against the shore, only now they beat on us. We are the shore. Will we stand our ground?

 

 

New addition! I have recently added a new page which contains audio files for sermoholics. To access this page, click on the “Audio” tab at the top of this page.

© Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Responses

  1. The current trend in our society to live lives that our parents and grandparents would find shocking is based on the question, “How can something that feels so right be so wrong?” The error comes from the fact that this is the wrong question entirely. It misses the point that we should make decisions based on objective standards of right and wrong, not fickle emotions. We are foolish to think that our feelings and emotions are reliable guides in distinguishing wrong from right. Our emotions are about as stable as a leaf blowing in the wind. A number of things affect our emotions, such as a bad day at the office, illness, hormonal changes, or news that our mother-in-law is coming to stay for the holidays. Let me ask you a question: if you can’t control the fluctuation of your emotions, do you really think you can depend on them to make rational judgments of right and wrong, truth and error?

    We need something outside ourselves – something that doesn’t fluctuate with the moods in our personal life, or the trends of society. That something is the Word of God. God’s Word doesn’t change like shifting sand, or the direction of the wind. It doesn’t depend on national opinion polls of what is acceptable and what is not. It is stable and dependable from cover to cover. So, if it doesn’t change, what has? I guess we have…. A scary thought!

    Great stuff Brother Shaw!

  2. Good point Brother Shaw. I love how you have taken blogging to another level.

    I had a similar thought the other day hearing about a “Christian Cruise” and thought, “Would Jesus be found there or out in the streets ministering to the hurt, lost and dying?”

    Not to disavow like-minded fellowship, but where has our focus gone with the thought of spending hundreds – thousands – of dollars on a largely selfish activity coated with a veneer of Christianity?

    But, I never ordered a latte, myself, either, and could live in a one-room hut and be happy. It may just be my perspective. Good stuff, though – keep it coming!

  3. Ok, Stacey I will join you.
    Rodney, you are Awesome!

    Reading this I thought you were talking to me but then I realized — no, it must be everyone else!

    Thanx Bro.

  4. Some of our pioneers would be shocked equally of the worldliness in Christendom and the self-righteousness in some Pentecostal circles. Moving the focus away from modesty and onto non-biblical absolutes would certainly grieve many. Where is balance?

  5. These are great things to meditate on. I have taught on this scripture a number of times to our youth. However, when I look at myself and evaluate if I love the world or not, I wonder…

  6. I really like the word diametric. Cool to see it used properly!

  7. You are right on Bro. Shaw. We have become so connected to this world that in many instances we do not even stop and think about the possibility of us loving this present world more than the things of God! Thank you so much for this blog and your ministry. I began listening to you teach and preach via podcast a few months ago and have been blessed by your insight into the scripture and the mind of God.

  8. Has anyone mentioned just how absolutely AWESOME you are!!!


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