Hope in the midst of decay and destruction

A couple of decades ago, the forests of Colorado began to be infected with beetles that were killing trees.  The beetles are small, less than an inch in size.  So small that it would seem unlikely they could take out such large trees and entire swaths of forest.  Yet, over the years we have seen millions of acres of trees killed.  The picture above is just a small example of the death and destruction left behind.

We have seen a similar impact on the moral health of the country.  The infestation began decades ago in seemingly small and insignificant ways.  The church has even embraced many of these changes thinking that we needed to stay culturally relevant.

Small things matter

I can sometimes be a bit over-attentive to details.  More than once I’ve been told, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” or “It’s close enough.”  This was common when I was working as a CPA preparing tax returns or accounting records.  I’ve also heard it when working on projects with wood or metal.

While I’m not a perfectionist, I do think that the small things matter.  This is especially true when it comes to matters of the Spirit and our morality.  “Nobody’s perfect, right?”  The rest of that thought is, “…so why bother trying?”  Why? Because it matters.  A lot.

If a sharpshooter fires at a target 1000 meters away, and the bullet drifts one millimeter for each meter it travels, the shot will miss the target by a full meter.  While a millimeter seems insignificant, the result will be a completely missed target.  

The little things matter in our spiritual life.  We need to be constantly realigning ourselves with the Lord and His standards.  Otherwise, we may end up way off from where we should be.  Just as the small beetle can kill a mighty tree, a small sin can destroy a person, a church, and a country.

Is it relative?

Back in the 1980s, there was a concept taught in school about moral relativity.  Basically, we were given different scenarios and had to determine what was right in each.  When discussing the assignment with my mom, I asked how we could have different moral standards for the variety of situations instead of one absolute right and wrong.  She believed that we do have one standard of morality and that it is based on the written Word of God (The Holy Bible).  

Unfortunately, I’ve watched many Christians and churches apply this concept of moral relativity to how they believe and teach others.  This has allowed an infestation of “beetles” to infest the church and bring destruction.  

In every survey that I’ve seen over the past two or more decades, the divorce rate of “Christians” in the church is statistically the same (or higher) as “non-Christians”.  I’ve even heard several times that the pay-per-view usage in hotels is higher when a Christian conference is held there than other types of conferences.  We ought to be different from the world in a positive way!  How did this happen?  It started with a little compromise and has grown from there.

Combating the destroyer

There are a couple of natural things that combat the tree killing beetles in the forest.  A deeply cold winter with sufficient snow or a forest fire.  The fire will kill the beetles as well as destroy everything else.  The cold winter will freeze the beetles and the snow, along with summer rains, will provide for healthy trees that are able to fight off the beetle’s deadly effects.

Sometimes, the Lord will send severe conditions to our life in order to deal with the unholy infestations that we have allowed.  Instead of fighting against these moves of the Lord, we need to allow His work to burn or freeze in such a way that we are purified of the unholiness.  This will be uncomfortable, and very likely painful.  But the alternative is death, and possibly infection of others around us.

We need to be healthy through the nourishment of the Holy Spirit.  Just as a tree needs sufficient water and nutrients from the soil, we need to receive the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit as we are washed, cleansed, and healed by the mighty Blood of Christ.  It is important that we are purposeful in our spiritual diet.

Where’s the hope?

In the picture below, you will see a couple small trees growing in the midst of the dead and fallen.  While our nation, and our churches, seem to be completely overtaken by the destruction of the enemy, there is hope.

Hope in the midst of decay and destruction

Jesus is our only hope.  But we have to be willing to change our ways to be in alignment with His ways.  In everything.

Is it going to be easy?  No.  Is it doable anyway?  Absolutely!  In the power of Christ we are able to be more than conquerors (see Romans 8:37).

What small things in your life need to be corrected so that you are growing healthy in the Lord?

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Finding Forgiveness

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