There's this little old camp song, "Little cabin in the woods, little man by the window stood." I've sung it to my children as they were growing up. Well, that was me sometimes when some friends had given us this wonderful gift of vacationing in their mountain cabin, surrounded by woods. One morning we got a call from a neighbor notifying us of a visitor they had that morning — a mother bear and her cub. Since I was going out every day for a vigorous walk in the woods, I had mixed emotions, "I hope I get to see those bears. I hope I don't see those bears." I'd rather eat lunch than be lunch. Well, we never saw the bears. But it was interesting to see the pictures that our neighbor snapped of her furry visitors. There seems to be a special attraction for those bears — garbage. When people have seen those bears, they're usually doing whatever it takes to get the lid off of a garbage can, including standing on top of the can, rocking back and forth on it, and trying with both paws to pry it open. They love garbage!
An appetite for garbage — I guess it's okay if you're a bear. It's not okay if you're a child of Almighty God. That's why God says in 2 Corinthians 7:1, our word for today from the Word of God, "Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." In other words, stay away from any garbage that can contaminate a son or daughter of the holy God they belong to.
The promises God says He's basing this challenge on, tell us that we are "the temple of the living God" and "sons and daughters" of "the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:16-18). Sadly, too many of His sons and daughters have allowed themselves to develop an appetite for garbage. TV shows, movies — they either glorify or minimize behaviors that break God's law and break God's heart. Or music, videos, whatever is about doing some of the very things that Jesus died to deliver us from. Plenty of it on social media. Plenty of it on the Internet.
Maybe you've wandered where you never should have gone on the Internet, or in a magazine, or things you've been reading. It's attractive, but the wrapping paper doesn't change the fact that there's garbage inside. Often the trash that pollutes our soul and lowers our guard comes wrapped in something that's very entertaining, magnetic, popular, or funny. But garbage comes in other forms, too. Like negative talk, gossip, or backstabbing that you allow yourself to soak up. Some of us just can't walk away from something juicy about another person. That is verbal garbage.
If you're wondering why you feel defeated so many times, why you don't feel as close to Jesus as you used to, or why your dark side keeps winning and bringing you down, have you considered your diet: what you're watching, what you're listening to, who you're spending time with, or the things you laugh at. God tells us in Ephesians 5:11 to "have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness." And He says in Philippians 4:8 to think instead about things that are "noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise." Fill your mind, and fill your heart with things that will build your soul, not poison it or tear it down.
Honestly, have you allowed yourself to gradually develop an appetite for what God would consider garbage? It has no place in a life that's been bought and paid for with the precious blood of the Son of God. Walk away from that garbage can. There's nothing in there that belongs in you.
©Ronald P. Hutchcraft 2023
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