I live an in apartment building on the second floor. One day, after a long day at work, I came home to a strong odor of cigarette smoke in my home. I immediately thought that someone had been in my apartment smoking. I don’t smoke, so I assumed maybe a maintenance man may have done it. But when the situation continued, I realized what was happening. I have a few neighbors who smoke, including one of the tenants below me. When the weather turned cold, he took his smoking inside and the smoke entered my apartment through the ventilation system.
A few days later, after a particularly smoky night in which I had to leave my apartment, I spoke with my neighbor about it and he was very apologetic and happy to work with me. I explained to him how the smoke stayed in my apartment for hours. He replied, “I can’t believe it was so strong…I only smoked two cigarettes…” I too was surprised to find that only two cigarettes, from a neighbor’s apartment was enough to make my whole apartment toxic. Since then, he’s been great about the whole thing and keeps most of his smoking outdoors.
A few weeks later, while getting ready for work, the Holy Spirit suddenly spoke to me, “That cigarette situation was a spiritual lesson.”
“Really? How so?” I asked. Then, this verse suddenly came to me; “Just a little bit of leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.” (Gal 5:9.) I immediately understood. Just as it only takes a pinch of yeast to affect a whole lump of dough, it only took a little bit of smoke to poison my entire apartment. Spiritually speaking, it only takes a little of something impure to poison our whole soul. A little bitterness, a little rebellion, a little toxicity, a little pornography. It doesn’t matter what it is, just a little will affect our whole person. If you doubt this, let me ask you a question; If I handed you a piece of cake and told you it only had a “little bit” of bird droppings in it, would you still eat it? How bout if I handed you a glass of milk and told you it had just “little bit” of turpentine in it?
So, when it comes to taking in a movie, is a “little bit” (or in this case, a lot) of sexuality and dark, promiscuity okay to take into my soul? Will it affect just a little, quarantined part of my mind? Or will it poison my whole soul? I can answer that question every time I’m in my apartment and a “little bit” of smoke from downstairs seeps in my home. There is no place the smoke doesn’t go, no corner that it misses. My whole apartment is affected. My air is affected, my nose is affected, and my peace is affected. Yes, just a little movie like Fifty Shades of Grey will hurt me. Even just one of the sex scenes will hurt me…a lot. And the lingering effects are that once we see something, we can never un-see it. It leaves a lasting imprint on our brain.
No, I won’t be going to watch Fifty Shades of Grey. There are plenty of other great movies that I’m looking forward to seeing. Yes, sometimes a movie can surprise you with a sudden sex scene you didn’t expect, but knowingly going to a movie that is impure is a little different. I might as well sit down at my dinner table and have that piece of cake and glass of milk.
A woman received an engagement ring from her fiancée. Upon inspection she realized that it was a fake diamond, however, she went ahead and married him thinking he probably intended upgrade the ring someday. Immediately after the wedding though, he handed her a paper with a long list of duties written on it: Have dinner ready at a certain time, be quiet during his study times, clean house, etc. The new bride suddenly felt doomed with the realization that this wasn’t a real marriage after all, and he didn’t really want a real relationship with her…he only wanted a servant. He didn’t invest in a real ring because she wasn’t valuable to him.
Unfortunately this resembles the type of marriage relationship most church people have with Jesus. They believe that once they commit to him, he has a list of duties and rules to follow in order to serve him. This false belief creates a great wall between Christ and his bride. Jesus never said he wanted a bride to serve him. That is not his heart at all! In fact, quite the opposite. In Mark 10:45, the bible says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."
If you think Jesus sought you out, ransomed and redeemed you so that you can “serve” him, you’ve missed out on the whole love relationship he wants to have with you. Instead of being the joyful bride of a loving groom, you are a servant-wife. And that’s why sometimes you don’t feel close to God. You must understand the kind of relationship God wants with you. John Piper puts it this way:
The radical call to Christian discipleship is NOT a call to serve Jesus, but to be served by Jesus as we serve others, and to be ransomed by him from death… He is not just saying, "Serve the way I serve." This is the Son of Man serving me! Ransoming me from my sin and my death! Refusing to be served by me. Insisting on being the Servant and the Savior in my life…He is saying, Yes, drink my cup. Yes, share my baptism. Yes, serve others. Yes, be the slave of all. This is what it means to be my disciple. But don't serve me! I have not come to be served. I will not be served like this. I will be the servant. In your relationship with me, I will serve you. I will work for you.
Jesus’ message for his church – his bride – is this: You are the apple of my eye. I have put a beautiful and valuable ring on your finger to signify my commitment and love for you. I purchased it with my own blood because it was the most precious thing I could offer you. You are mine and I am yours. LET ME SERVE YOU! Let me minister to you, heal you, inspire you and bring you joy! I don’t need you to clean anything, fix anything, or build anything. I will do that. I don't need you to improve yourself, change yourself or the others around you. I'll do all that too. I just need you to learn to let me love you by supplying all your needs. If you can do that, everything else will fall into place.