Saturday, February 6, 2016

Guarding Against Infection - Martin Wiles

Do not even let them live among you! If you do, they will infect you with their sin of idol worship, and that would be disastrous for you. Exodus 23:33 NLT

A small bubble appeared in the corner of my left index finger and began to grow. What was forecasted came true. 

I’m not exactly sure when or why I developed the habit of biting my nails, but somewhere around middle school age, I did. Perhaps I needed something to occupy my time. My mother, aunt, and grandmother all warned me I was going to pull one down into the quick. Then I’d have to deal with infection. Sure enough, I did and it did. Mom tried boiling it with Peroxide. No luck. It must have been the weekend because she and my grandmother gathered me up and carted me to the emergency room. A shot in my finger was followed by a knife to the infection. It was a painful experience I’ve never forgotten. 

God warned the desert traveling Israelites about a worse infection—the infection of disobedience. Pagans inhabited their Promised Land. Living among them—or even marrying them, would have disastrous results. I can still be infected by those who don’t love God or adhere to his commands. But how can I guard myself?

I must be careful of the company I keep. While Jesus tells me to influence others by being salt, the Bible also says bad company corrupts good morals. 

Obeying the command and heeding the warning take wisdom only God can give. My company told me to keep my fingers out of my mouth. I didn’t listen.

I must also equip myself. The Israelites were to avoid treaties with the pagan dwellers as well as worshiping their gods. Guarding against some diseases requires a shot. Keeping my fingers out of my mouth would have equipped me to fight infection. Spiritual disciplines protect me against infection. Programming my conscience with God’s Word makes it a reliable source of warning when infection stalks nearby. 

What steps can you take to guard yourself against spiritual infection?

Prayer: Father, direct our steps away from those things and people who would infect us with disobedience. 

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