Saturday, March 17, 2012

Duck Evangelism, Part 2


“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. “Ephesians 5:3-5

Yesterday our study taught us a lot about the good and wonderful ways of the Lord.  In contrast, today we will dive into a study about the naturally evil and sinful ways of man.  The pond way of living verses the puddle way of living.

Here are some start comparisons the verses above present us:

First comparison:
The puddle life which includes:  fornication, uncleanliness, and covetousness.
The pond life which labels its inhabitants as “saints”.

Take note that this word “saint” here is translated from Greek to meaning the equilivilent English words:  sacred, pure, blameless, consecrated, and holy.  For a person to live this way they must have nothing to distract them from total preoccupation (walking) in love as we talked about yesterday.

More than likely your life is not filled with reckless living, but do not be fooled that your sinful nature fights constantly against you keeping completely preoccupied with God and His ways.  Left to our own devices we slip into easy living, the puddle life.  The nature of the pond is that it requires trust, trust that you will not sink, that there is food where you cannot see it without holding your breath and diving for it, and furthermore trust that there is not a predator hiding in the rushes or under the water that will attack you at any moment.  How much more in control we feel when we can stand on our own two feet, feel the ground, and see the food and all of the possible dangerous scenarios around us, but living that way is not living in faith – it is living in fear.  Fear of the unknown is what leads many to stay in the puddles or back to the puddles of life.  In contrast, the saints of the Lord as called to live a life of trust.

Second comparison:
The puddle life which includes: filthiness, foolish talk, and course jesting
The pond life where communication among the inhabitants is filled with the “giving of thanks”, or rather, the grateful language of God.

I have to share an example with you related to these contrasting elements.  Years ago, before I started speaking and writing, I took on the responsibility to work as the volunteer coordinator for a very large Christian convention.  While doing my job I had the pleasure of meeting many speakers for the event.  These speakers were delightful and inspiring and I regretted my job didn’t allow me much time to sit in on their sessions.  But then there was this one speaker who gave me a new understanding of the following scripture verse:

“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?  Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” James 3:10-12

She was supposedly a wonderful Christian speaker, but the brash words she had for the convention staff about the quality of her hotel room, the absence of materials she needed, and the less than adequate transportation she felt she received left me with the idea she was the type of person James was describing in the verse above.  I had no desire after hearing her rantings to attend any of her seminars to gain any of the knowledge she was going to impart.

The puddle life allows double standards, but the pond life does not.  If we are to say we belong to God and then do things in opposition to Him, then we are only deceiving ourselves.  In a way it is kind of like self-sanctioning that a larger puddle is equivalent to a full-fledged pond, and yet the one critical element is different between the two – it has to do with who decides the way to live there.  There is no Big Daddy Duck here in this new puddle like the one in the pond, and so other forces are at work instead in those places - evil forces.  Our next comparison will give us more clarity on this issue.

Third comparison:
The puddle life, which is filled with fornicators, unclean persons, and covetous men who in all reality are idolaters and worship the false gods of lust, greed, etc...  For them there is no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God
The pond life is filled with saints who worship God alone and for whom the inheritance of the Kingdom of Christ and God is guaranteed.

In this final comparison we learn the greatest difference between pond living and puddle living.  For those who are in the puddles of life there is no hope for anything more.  Their minds are set on the things of this world and those things have become their gods.  But for those who are established in the pond there is a superior purpose to their lives. Their minds are set on this greater purpose and their lives become living acts of worship to the one true God.

Well, our study would not be complete if we didn’t include our duck, so here is how the lessons today relate to her life.  The results of living in the pond gave the duck a life she desired, yet she had to resist believing the lie that having more control over and knowledge about her situations would make life easier and less complicated.  Also, she needed to change the purpose of her quacking, so it would draw others into the knowledge of truth of pond living.  And finally she needed to keep her eyes, heart, and mind focused on one thing and that was the Big Daddy Duck because it was he alone who had everything she needed, if she could learn to trust in him and the promises he held for her.

So, what about us?  Here are some things I would suggest as action points from today’s lesson:  First, don’t allow yourself to get mixed up with activities that lead to un-saintly living.  Don’t get me wrong, we all make mistakes.  But there are lifestyle choices we can make beyond a mistake which can lead us into places that produce habitual sin.  It is those puddles of life we can avoid if we stay on the alert, in God’s word, keep our eyes focused on eternity, and trust in the lessons God sets before us.  Second, don’t allow your mouth to speak words that speak evil in any way.  Take time to think before you speak, thank God for all He has done in your life, be grateful and live grateful.  Do not complain, whine, tell hurtful jokes, or talk about things that are ungodly or unfitting about others.  Finally, realize that Satan leaves many traps to hook the most devote soul into idol worship – you need to always be on the alert otherwise your actions or words may completely invalidate your testimony. 

Have a great day and I will see you tomorrow for more on our study of duck evangelism.

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