There is no doubt that our current country is very similar to that of ancient Babylon. Everywhere you look there are different opportunities to overindulge, advocate for sin and be instantly gratified beyond what you should be. It seems that our country puts a whole lot of emphasis on sin and whole lot less on everything else. What I mean to say is that sin, all different types, is placed on a pedestal instead of knocked to the ground. Now, this causes some concerns.
A friend of mine and I have been studying the book of Daniel with the Bible study by Beth Moore. We have only gotten through a couple of weeks, but they have been very thought-provoking weeks! (I highly recommend this study, you can purchase the entire kit for a small group from this link: Beth Moore Daniel Study ) One of the very first things that we learned in the study is that Daniel was one of very many that were taken from their home and brought to Babylon. Now, I am unsure of how many the “very many” consisted of, but it is very clear that only four of these people remained named in the story today: Daniel, Meshach, Abednego and Shadrach. Why? What made these four people different from all the other boys that were taken and brought to Babylon? The answer is simple. They did not put sin on a pedestal. They chose not to defile themselves. Even in a world that was completely tempting, completely open to them, everything available that they could have wanted, they chose God. Don’t get me wrong here, I am a dirty sinner. Always have been and, unfortunately, always will be. That is not what I am getting at here. What this story brought to mind is that those four men became relevant in Babylon without having to give into the culture around them. This is the idea that I have been struggling with.
We all sin. Jesus died for those sins. We are all loved. We are called to love God. We are called to love one another. There is no question to me about that. The question is simply, even though we are called to love one another, where is the line between loving and enabling? Between loving and assimilating to the culture around us? Between loving and becoming irrelevant? I know that there will be the “but we are told to love, period.” Yes, absolutely. Love, not enable. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you are going to allow them to do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want because it makes them happy or feel good. For example, Let’s say a man and a woman get married. They love each other. They want to see the other person happy. However, just because those are the truths, it doesn’t mean that the husband would allow the wife to sleep with other men because that made her happy. Chances are, there would be arguments, dysfunction and eventually divorce. Love is not enabling; love is not advocating for sin. Jesus met a woman at a well, a pretty well-known story. In short, he forgave her of her sins and she was extremely excited about this. She ran into the city and told everyone about Jesus. Jesus did not say to her “Hey, I love, go ahead and keep sinning”. No. He told her to sin no more because he loved her.
Listen, we can not be relevant in our Babylon if we continually advocate and condone the sin around us. We can love one another without being a stumbling block to those around us. I recently listened to a message from Andy Stanley. The series is called Happy (you can listen to the whole series here: www.happyseries.org). In the last message of the series, he spoke of the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What hit me the most was his reiteration of what the Bible says about the fruit of the spirit. “Against these things, there is no law”. That is awesome, my friends. We can love one another by striving to have the fruit of the spirit. We can love one another by loving God first. He will give us the discernment; the boundary line not to cross. He will show us how to love without assimilating to the culture we live in. When we love God first, we become relevant in our Babylon.
How do you remain relevant in your Babylon? How do you love?
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