Beware of life's junk
You have probably seen one of those TV programs that prize the collecting and storing of castoffs from the past. Most of us call it junk, but these "pickers'' see it as treasure. When this bike, that sign, those toys or the old furniture is cleaned up, its value will appreciate, and we are told there is money to be made. This is probably true, but if you watch any of these programs, you know that a lot more junk is left in the yard than taken to be restored.
People have a hard time letting go of their junk. For example, on the edge of the Bering Sea in Nome, Alaska, a community sits on frozen tundra. As a result, residents have a significant problem getting rid of junk and trash because sanitation landfills are nonexistent. A typical yard has broken machines, cars, old tools and a variety of nondegradable refuse. If you visit in the winter, all this is covered by a blanket of snow to create a winter wonderland of beauty. However, during the summer the pristine beauty is gone and the accumulated junk is revealed. Under nine months of beauty lies three months of junk.
Consider this an analogy for people today. There are times when people look and sound mature and may impress you with their manner and behavior. Then there are those unguarded, or uncovered, times when their sinful side shows through, and prejudice, abuse, sexual perversions and wrong behavior are revealed. A phrase I heard many years ago speaks to this condition: "What a person is when that person is alone is what that person is." Our true character is revealed in what we think is hidden from others. Don't let your private thoughts and actions become your pile of junk.
Most people seem to feel they can handle a small amount of junk in their lives; only when it overwhelms them does it becomes a problem. The Bible calls this sin. If it is not confessed and covered by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, it will exclude you from fellowship with God and eternal life in heaven.
Dr. Tony Evans, a well-known Texas pastor, tells of the time he discovered a crack in the wall of his bedroom. He hired a contractor to fix the problem. The contractor did so several times. Finally, he told Dr. Evans what was causing the crack. "You don't have a problem with your wall; the problem is with the foundation of your house. The foundation is shifting and until it is fixed there will always be cracks in your walls." The house looked good on the outside, but there was junk underneath and it affected the rest of the building.
A picker, like those I referred to earlier, saw a sign that had been on a store in the South some time ago. It read, "We have 10,000 lures." A singer-songwriter by the name of Kate Campbell took a cue from that old sign and wrote a song called "10,000 Lures." One of the stanzas goes like this: "He knows every weakness/ Knows just when to strike/ You know he was an angel once/ And he knows what you like./ For you it might be money/ For me it might be fame/ Better cover up your ears now/ When he whispers your name." The chorus goes like this: "There's vices and voodoo always enticing you, from the day that you're born till the day you leave this world, the devil's got a line for sure, and 10,000 lures."
Satan is the great deceiver and father of lies. Unless you stay close to God through reading his word, and consistent prayer and devotion to him, you are on a slippery slope and Satan has a lure made just for you. A number of people, young and old, think God is irrelevant because they have been feeding too long at the table of this old world.
Author and pastor John Piper wrote in "A Hunger for God,'' "The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. ... It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime time dribble of triviality that we drink every night. … The most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable and almost incurable."
Pay close attention in this new year to what you allow into, and exclude from, your life. Keep out the junk.
Gilbert A. Peterson, a former president of Lancaster Bible College, is a management and educational consultant. He is also a correspondent for Lancaster Newspapers Inc. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.