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My theory is that inside every man there's a little boy. And when the boy dies, the man might as well. Then the kid comes out at Christmas, at certain amusement parks, and also when it snows. Inside most of us is this kid who looks out the window at new-fallen snow and hopes like crazy this will be one of those most glorious of winter days - a snow day! If it is, and if you've got kids or grandkids, it can mean an opportunity for one of life's great creative moments - building a snowman! Or snow person, as the case may be. Now, when you're done, there stands your personal or team masterpiece - fat, friendly, probably with a hat, a button nose, two eyes (made out of coal?). The problem is that they don't stay those handsome creatures you formed so laboriously. As the temperature rises, Snow Guy or Snow Girl slowly becomes Soft Guy or Girl, slowly losing its shape and identity until it's more like Mush Guy or Mush Girl.
Sadly, what happens to snowmen seems to be happening to more and more of God's people. They're slowly going soft, melted by the heat of a culture that applies heavy pressure to compromise both Christian convictions and Christian lifestyles. And some of us are becoming so melted you can hardly tell the difference between us and the lost people around us. We watch what they watch, we wear what they wear, we talk like they talk, we do business like they do business, we bail out of marriages like they do - actually more than they do - and slowly melt away morally the Jesus-difference that is meant to draw people to a life-changing - not life-conforming - Savior.
Increasingly, we seem to be practicing our culture rather than practicing our faith; a culture that casually accepts the unacceptable has caused us to grow soft about what we will watch and listen to and what we'll allow our children to let into their hearts and minds. Things we never would have considered allowing into our lives or into our minds maybe only a few years ago.
We've gotten soft on something God says in the Book of Malachi that He hates - divorce (Malachi 2:10). In a relatively few years, a trickle of Christians ending their lifetime marriage commitment has grown to a flood. It looks increasingly as if Jesus makes little or no difference in life's most intimate, most committed relationship. The heat has made us more and more soft on issues like the sanctity of life, whether it's standing without compromise for the life of an unborn child, or the life of a born child who's living in awful need - or the life of the elders who gave us our life. Again, where's the Jesus-difference? We can't turn soft just because the issue all of a sudden has the face of someone we know. God hasn't changed His mind.
Premarital sex - living together before you're married, business ethics - so many compromises. So much melting! Now it's time for our word for today from the Word of God in Ephesians 6:13, "Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then..." There it is. We can't change our minds on the things God never changes His mind on.
When we let the heat of an out-of-control, spiritually uncaring world keep melting us down, making us soft, pretty soon there's nothing left but spiritual mush. If you belong to Jesus, your life is supposed to offer a choice, not an echo for a lost and dying world. We have to stand our ground. Or lose the very things that make a Jesus-follower the light of their world.