The poisoned stew, part two

In my last post we started digging into the story of the poisoned stew from the book of 2 Kings. We established that ignorance kills, and that while ignorance alone isn’t an awful thing it can turn bad when we take ignorant actions. Today I want to move into another part of this story, as I feel like there’s a lesson here that ties directly into my previous series of posts about keeping ourselves pure and avoiding certain temptations.

First, here’s the story of the poisoned stew again.

2 Kings 4:38-41 And Elisha came again to Gilgal when there was a famine in the land. And as the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Set on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39 One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were.40 And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it. 41 He said, “Then bring flour.” And he threw it into the pot and said, “Pour some out for the men, that they may eat.” And there was no harm in the pot.

As I was originally studying this I wrote something down on a piece of paper. It’s so important to know what we’re consuming. This has both physical and spiritual meanings. Physically, it’s pretty easy to figure out the lesson here. The men in the Bible verses didn’t know what they were consuming. This guy handed them stew, they ate it, and uh oh, now they’re poisoned. They didn’t know what they were consuming.

While that’s a great lesson, I want to focus on the spiritual side of things. Because I know, I don’t think, but I know that we’re poisoning ourselves with the things we consume. TV shows, music, bad websites, we are poisoning our spirit with the things that we’re consuming. How can I know? Because I speak from personal experience. Hi, my name is Aaron and I’m an entertainment addict. I’ve worked really hard to free myself from that addiction, and I’m proud to be able to say that my entertainment life is far healthier than it once was. But man, sometimes I’m plagued by my old life.

Here’s a way in which my old ways still cause me trouble. Let’s say I’m on the internet, and I happen across a suggestive picture of a woman. I click away immediately, closing the website and moving on to something else. But guess what sometimes happens to me? The temptation doesn’t stop, it just moves to a new venue. Sure, I cut off the suggestive picture that was in front of my eyes, but I can’t destroy the ones that are in my memory. And so sometimes here they’ll come. The venue changed from computer screen to mind’s eye, but the temptation stays the same. Remember the time you watched that bad movie? Here’s that one scene. Remember that website you went to that you shouldn’t have? Here’s that one picture. And so even though I made a quick and decisive decision to cut off the temptation that was before me, I get hit by the ones I gave into in the past. In this scenario, my own mind is the poisoned stew, because I consumed bad things in the past.

I pray about this lately, because it’s not a situation I enjoy. I ask God to take from me those memories, to scrub my mind and my memories clean of all the things I’ve seen that I shouldn’t have seen over the years. But for now the fact remains that I consumed things I shouldn’t have, and there are consequences to that. If I eat poisoned stew, I’m going to get sick.

Sometimes we’re faced with content that we don’t realize is poisoned. You can start watching a completely normal movie only to find yourself exposed to a graphic sex scene an hour into it. You can listen to a whole album only to hear a blasphemous song against God near the end of the album. You can start reading a book only to find it stuffed with crude content.

While I’d like to say we’re always innocent in those situations, there is a level where we can cut down on these surprises. We need to always be on guard. We must be always on guard. Over the past weeks I’m pretty sure we’ve established the severity of sexual temptation. It got David, it got Samson, and it’s getting a flood of good people this very day. And it doesn’t take much. Like I said above, sometimes a single glimpse of a single picture can send our minds spinning into dark territory. So before we start shoveling the stew into our mouths, or in this situation, before we start watching whatever movie or TV show we think looks cool, we need to do some research. Dig into it, ask around, research it, find out if this is something that’s pure or is it something that’s poisoned. Is this something that’s going to make you sick, is it something that’s going to send you down the dark road of temptation?

I’m not the morality police and I’m not your parent. But I am your brother in Christ, and I am someone who loves you. And I’m someone who can struggle with this stuff if I drop my guard, even for a second. So just as I want purity and holiness for myself, I want that for all of you too. That’s why I’m blogging about this. Not to judge what you watch or what you listen to or what you read, but to just share my desire for goodness in your life. Because there is no joy like the joy of Jesus. There is no delight available in the world that can touch the delight of God. The closer we pull to Him, the more we align ourselves with the heart of God, the more we hold fast to the ways of Jesus, the more of that joy and delight we open ourselves up to.

We’re called to follow Jesus, and his path was holy and it was pure. It never faltered. So anytime I find my steps veering away from purity, then they’re also veering away from Jesus’ path. In those moments, I am faltering. I am stumbling. And so I choose to guard myself when it comes to entertainment, to put into place systems and decisions that keep me from falling into sexual temptation. Because when I wake up in the morning I don’t ask God to make me a man who only stumbles occasionally. I ask that my path is always straight. I ask that I walk pure and steadfast, with a steady pace and a singular vision.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, I want a pure mind and a pure heart.  I want to be like Jesus, and he was a man that did not sin.  Jesus, I want to be like you.  And I ask you right now to help me do it.  Help me in every way that you can, with wisdom, with love, with guidance, with the bible, I ask you for it all.  And I ask on behalf of all of your people, I come before you today and pray this over a multitude.  Cleanse us, mighty Jesus, scrub us clean.  I pray for a reawakening of purity and holiness in your church, I ask that you would send a wave of power crashing through your people that wakes them up to the importance of watching what they consume.  Set a watch on our eyes, set a watch on our ears, Holy Spirit, I ask that you freak out within your people if they’re about to see or hear something that’s going to lead them down a bad path.  Rumble and roar inside of us, make it to where we can’t ignore your warnings.  God, let us recognize the true depths of your goodness, the unmatchable quality of your delights.  There is nothing that compares to the joy and the delight of you, Lord.  No TV show, no sinful behavior, nothing compares to your goodness.  Nothing compares to the feeling of peace and joy I have when I’m walking the path that you have laid out for me in my life.  So I just want to close this out by saying thank you for the paths that you give us.  Thank you, Jesus, for the example you set for us.  Thank you for the bible, that helps guide us.  Wake us up, God, get our heads on straight, let us recognize how desperately we need you.  You are our everything.  I love you, Lord, and I thank you for all that you are to me.  In Jesus’ precious name I pray, for the glory of God, amen.

I hope everyone is having a great week so far.  I get a real sense of God’s peace in the air today.  If you’re in need of some peace in your life, I urge you to get with God today.  Spend a little time in prayer and in worship, let His peace just wash over you.  I love you guys!

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