There’s an old Gospel song, that been around for years, with words that go something like this..
“I woke up this mornin’ feelin’ fine. I woke up with Heaven on my mind.”
It’s a kind of ‘feel good’ song, the kind that makes you want to clap your hands and tap the foot to it’s fun, little tune.
Although I woke up with that song on my mind, I didn’t wake up to that feeling on my heart this morning! I woke up to a rather different beat today in the key of minor. Mine was a whirling mind, churning over the stupid stench of sin in this world. How it’s rampant and everywhere, and so sadly in all places where we don’t want to find it. Where we think, in our naïve and simple trusting spirits, it would never exist. It’s not just in that Garden of Eden, where it all began, but it’s in our present-day gardens of sweet nothings, where the old serpent slithers. He crawls so slyly into our homes, our workplaces, our schools and into our churches! His egotistic, narcissistic character gains only a slight foothold yet begins to manipulate, coerce, groom, gain our favour and ultimately tear down even the elect, leaving his victim alone and broken and so many others reeling in anguish, mistrust, bitterness and disappointment over whatever goes down.
Sin plays its game well, not smart but well. I’ve witnessed its evil gain a foothold in churches, where leaders would rather turn a blind eye than rock the boat with truth. The thing is, to surface the reality of wrong with truth in confrontation only serves to bring on a form of politics, gaining of power, support and a form of horrendous persecution. Yeah, not the ‘gallows’ type of threat and physical torture but the power, politics, gossip, lies, threats, and unbelief, paired with emotional and verbal abuse is a form of gallows that kill by crushing the spirit and grinding it into the dirt. It’s a form of abuse not becoming to the ‘spiritual’ leaders dishing it out. Yet it happens! Sin rules our cultures our societies, our world and sadly, our own lives if we succumb to self and as the prophet Jeremiah, reminds us of our wretched state, through the LORDS own words of wisdom in Jeremiah 17:9,
This is what the LORD says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
So, friends, in our wretched sin-sick world, in our wretched sin-sick state, only God knows just how deceitful we can be. Yes, it touches our lives, our families and our ministries! It plants its seed of lies, and deceit and builds pedestals of pride with power and money and off it goes on a wild tangent in cahoots with a wicked heart or two in tow, beckoning to its every call and bowing to its every selfish whim.
Bingo! And don’t we know that glass castles shatter and pedestals crack and crumble and proud hearts are bent low to breathe the dust of the ground. And don’t we know the lights go out and the power goes out! And don’t we know that the money looses its luster to a sickening stench as the whole truth unfolds.
Yeah, it’s a wretched world held in the grip of sin and what do you know, it’s not just those who have joined the ranks of fame and popularity, who we point fingers at, but it’s us in the thick of it, just like everyone else. “We” are the sinners with the deceptive hearts, no one better, more righteous than anyone else. We’re all in this together, all with the same potential to sin, all in the same sinful world, with the same sinner’s heart in the same little boat struggling to stay afloat, with the need of the same Saviour that brings the powerful gospel message of light and Truth. A message of power that doesn’t change or go out or lose luster just because a glass castle cracks and shatters, a pedestal crumbles and someone falls so far short of what we believed even possible.
Sin? Yeah it’s out there and it’s in us and Isaiah reminds us that it’s part and parcel of all of us, when he pens the words of Isaiah 53:6
“We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
So, when our minds swirl in confusion over stuff that goes down within our circles of influence. When the power goes out in our churches, our families, our schools, and within those of leadership, who we thought we knew and so highly respected, we can know their fall, our fall, or anyone’s stumble doesn’t change the power of God and the message of the Gospel. That message of saving power that cleanses a heart of repentance with unconditional love, mercy and amazing grace will stoop down into the depths of stench and muck and lift us out to carry each one of us who ask, to new heights in the heavenlies!
So, it turns out whatever has your heart wrenching today, our Lord knows well the hurt, pain and disappointment of your soul and though the temptation to give up is very real, our part is to stay faithful even to the end, even when and even if the glass castle shatters and threatens to take our faith into the garden of sin and doubt.
Yeah, I get that it’s a narrow way to walk but it’s safe there in His keeping. It’s the safest place you can be when the winds howl and storms blow! So you and I and we and us let’s accept that glass castles shatter, that pedestals fall, that power goes out and still realize with every once of faith that we can muster, that Sin will sadly have its way in this world, but our Saviour is still the victory One and still ‘all for us’, not against us. Let’s be challenged to keep our eyes fixed on the Sovereign God in charge and not on the man, the pedestals or the sin that can so easily entangle.
“Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leads unto life.” Life meaning salvation.