Every Monday we’ll post something about maintaining your sexual integrity. Hope it helps.
Silent Compromise; Massive Consequence
I’m sitting in the waiting area at Houston Hobby Airport in the early hours of Sunday, September 11, watching one of the many televised tributes to the victims who fell ten years ago. The mood among travelers is somber – the airport actually stopped business and had a color guard come in to lead us in salutes, a moment of silence, and the singing of the National Anthem – and that’s all as it should be. Nothing need be added to what’s been said this weekend about the attacks and their aftermath, but a thought strikes me today that gives me real pause:
We have no idea what will be required of us.
That, for me, is one of the overarching lessons of 9/11. Because although we knew about Bin Laden, Al Qaeda et al, and although we accepted the possibility of a terrorist assault, the gulf between the possible and the likely made the possible seem unthinkable. Like the big earthquake California says it someday expects, we knew it could be, but never really imagined it would.
But it was, and we were left with the mandate to rise to the crisis. Rise we did, but a question the most optimistic cannot ignore remains: What’s next? The essential elements leading to 9/11 are intact, after all, though some of the key players are thankfully missing. Besides which, terrorism isn’t the only threat we face. 9/11’s awful reminder was that life in this fallen world is wild, unpredictable, cruel. Catastrophe can come from any direction, and the Christian living an un-separated, unsanctified life will be unfit to meet its challenge.
Israel learned this the hard way when going to battle against Ai. Their prior conquest at Jericho had been so complete (Joshua 6) that he actually thinned the troops, assuming Ai, the next city targeted, would be the slam-dunk Jericho had been.(Joshua 7:3-4) What he didn’t know, until it was too late, was that one of his men named Achan had deliberately taken an unclean, accursed object from Jericho’s ruins in defiance of a command God had plainly given: Do not take to yourself any accursed thing from Jericho. Because of Achan’s sin, the entire camp was compromised, the troops weakened, and the battle lost. One man’s indulgence; an entire nation’s defeat.
I wonder if you’re aware of the ripple effects each private compromise generates. Remember Paul referred to you as a member of Christ’s body, one which suffers when you suffer; is weakened when you’re weakened. (I Corinthians 12:26) If you, or I, or other men are deliberately and regularly taking accursed things unto ourselves, the Body itself won’t be fit for whatever battles it will face in the coming years, and the long range consequences will be immeasurable.
It’s not just about you. Never has been. It’s also about your place in the scheme of things, God’s in particular. And the role He’s placed you in is only fulfilled when the private you matches the public one. Let’s keep that in mind today, remembering not only the horror we endured a decade ago, but the potential still lying within you in particular, and the Church at large.