The other day I came home from sawing lumber with four thin scraps of aromatic cedar about four feet long. For you non-wood people, that’s the wood used for cedar chests that has a smell that far exceeds moth balls!
Since I still had the wood stove heating, I stood the thin boards to the side of the stove to let them start drying.
I heard a snap a couple of times because they were splitting as they dried. Since they were so thin and of little value, I didn’t mind them drying quickly and splitting because I would work around the cracks. Two days later the weather really warmed up, so I decided to let the stove go out.
As I was sitting on the couch having my devotions, I looked over at the cedar standing against the wall and heard the humidifier still running on the other side and adding humidity to the boards from the other side. I had been drying out the boards with the wood stove from one side and adding humidity to the boards from the other side. What a waste.
So how did such a situation develop? I have dried boards next to my wood stove for quite a few years, but just this year we moved the humidifier donwstairs close to the wood stove. I had forgotten that I had changed the arrangement and things weren’t like they used to be. If I want dry boards, I need to shut of the humidifier. Otherwise, I have two opposing influences working on wood that will accomplish nothing.
This reminded me of a Christian spending time in God’s Word and worship then turning on the TV and filling his mind with the world’s idea of humor in sexual jokes. If you want to grow in your relationship with Christ, you need to remove the world’s influence as much as possible. Like me, you may be doing something you have always done and not realized another influence has moved in next to you and is nullifying your efforts - like a humidifier next to a wood stove.
If you want your marriage relationship to improve, then don’t watch sitcoms where affairs are all the rage, or the husband cuts down the wife around his friends and the wife does the same around hers.
It may mean you need to change some things in your life. If you want to try to stop cursing God’s name, don’t hang around people who curse Him. Start making them aware that they are cursing the One to whom they will answer one day.
In II Corinthians 6:17-7:1 we read, “Therefore come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purity ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
The believer is not called to leave the world but to let Christ live through him in the world. Make some decisions to separate yourselves from that which pulls you away from Christ. If we live so close to two opposing forces, our lives will be of no influence at all.