Banning the Poison That Brings You Down
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The eagles are coming back! We almost lost certain kinds of eagles - for good! They were on their way to becoming extinct. That's why they were legally declared an endangered species. It meant that if you hurt an eagle, you might end up in a steel nest of your own for a few years! But the good news is that in state after state, the eagle population is actually making a strong comeback. One huge reason: the banning of the widely-used pesticide called DDT. It turned out to be a poison that wasn't just killing pests; it was killing the majestic eagle.
Now our sons have run an exciting part of our work - a life-changing youth ministry on a remote Indian reservation. Not long ago, one young man came to Christ from a painful and drug-ridden life, and he brought a sledgehammer to their weekly meeting called "Jump Start." Now, they may have been wondering if he was bringing it to use on them! But he brought it to use on a stack of his favorite music CDs; music he said he felt he could no longer listen to and live the way that Jesus wants him to live.
He's beginning to understand, actually, a basic principle of learning to soar spiritually - you have to ban from your life the poison that brings down an eagle. And soul DDT is all around us. It's in music, it's in movies, fantasy games, TV shows, the Internet. It's in things we read or look at, it's in humor, it's in conversation. So God's charge to us in our word for today from the Word of God is as timely as ever. Philippians 4:8 - "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." How about what you've been watching or listening to? Honestly, can you call it "pure, noble, true, right, lovely"?
That verse describes God's mental diet for any child of His who is serious about being God's man or God's woman. You are what you eat - garbage in, garbage out. Or, in the crystal-clear directive of Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Everything you do and say originates with what's in your heart - it's the reservoir from which everything comes. And what's in your heart depends on what you put in your heart, what you let in your heart. And you need to post a 24-hour guard around your heart; a guard who refuses to let in anything that will feed your anger, your lust, your depression, your wrong desires, your dark side.
Ephesians 5:11 commands us to "have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness." But somehow, if it's in music we really like or a show or a movie or a web site we really enjoy, we just let the poison in because we like the package it comes in. But, it's still soul poison. Maybe you struggle with why the old you keeps coming back and taking over - the "you" that you hate, that brings you down, that hurts your relationship with your Savior. Could it be that your dark side keeps winning because you keep feeding it with influences that keep pushing the same old sinful buttons? You've got to starve what you want to die!
Romans 16:19-20 gives us a powerful plan for living in victory over Satan and the dark side he has used against us so many times. It says: "Be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil." Bulk up on what's "noble, pure, right, praiseworthy." And slam the door on anything that portrays or celebrates ideas and actions that Jesus died to destroy.
You're an eagle! You're destined by God to fly. But when you let soul poison in, you're not flyin', you're dyin'.