What we choose to swallow matters, as made mighty clear in this story from Craig Groeschel’s book Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World. (Did you guess how this story ends?)
When it comes to anything we consume, a little bit of poison goes a long way…
Here’s the best illustration that I know of this timeless truth. A loving mother demonstrated this principle to her son, Cade. When his friends invited him over to watch a movie, one just released on DVD and rated PG-13, Cade begged his mom to let him see it. His mom asked him her usual questions, “Buddy, is it a good movie? One that won’t hurt your Christian walk?”
Knowing it had some less than appropriate scenes, Cade shuffled from one foot to the other and searched for the right words. Not wanting to lie to his mom, he tried to walk on the edge of the truth. “Well, it’s not as bad as a lot of movies,” he said enthusiastically. “And all my friends have seen it. There’s only a little bit of bad stuff in it.” He held his breath, awaiting his mom’s final verdict on his moviegoing fate.
His mom smiled and said, “Well, of course, honey. As long as there’s only ‘a little bit of bad stuff in it.’” Cade was stunned! Before she changed her mind, the grateful teen bolted for his room, texted his friends the good news, then lost himself in his favorite iPad game.
She scooped up something that their dog Ginger had recently left behind…
Now if you’re a parent, you probably already know that Cade’s mom had something up her sleeve. She headed to the kitchen and started implementing her plan. Selecting her son’s favorite brownie mix from the pantry, she added the requisite water, eggs, and oil, stirring the mixture together in a big white bowl. While the oven preheated, Cade’s crafty mom strolled into the back yard for her secret ingredient. Searching carefully in the grass, she scooped up something that their dog Ginger had recently left behind.
She returned to the kitchen, stirred in a teaspoon of Ginger’s secret ingredient, poured the thick, chocolate batter into a nonstick pan, and set the oven timer for twenty minutes. Just as she pulled the brownies from the oven, Cade bounced down the stairs right on cue. “Do I smell my favorite brownies?” he asked with excitement. “You bet!” his mom said, smiling. After letting them cool for a few moments, Cade’s mom cut into the warm brownies and plopped a large one on his plate. Just as his fork hit the plate, she stopped him, and mentioned casually, “Just so you know, I added a special ingredient this time.” She paused without cracking a smile. “I put a teaspoon of Ginger’s poop in your brownies.”
“What?!” Cade shouted, immediately disgusted. “Mom, are you crazy? Why’d you do that?” he choked while pushing his plate away. Cade’s mom went to the fridge and poured her son his usual glass of milk. “Don’t worry, buddy. I didn’t put a lot of poop in the brownies. There’s just a little bit of bad stuff.”
He rolled his eyes, but she’d made her point and served it up home-style. Cade realized he wouldn’t be seeing the movie. The moral of this story? A little bit of poop goes a long way…
I like the way Eugene Peterson renders Romans 12:2 in The Message: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
It’s so easy to become a cultural chameleon and blend in, conform, and become like the culture around you. And as your discernment becomes camouflaged by cultural standards, your spiritual priorities will disappear. If you don’t want to disappear into the worldly culture, then you must be willing to stand out…
If we’re not any different [from the world], maybe it’s because we … aren’t living out the commitment we made to know [Christ].
Don’t be fooled by what’s popular and considered acceptable by most… As believers in Christ, we are called to live a holy life. We’re instructed to “be holy” because God is holy (1 Peter 1:16). The Greek word translated as “holy” is hagios, which means “to be set apart” or “to be different.” It carries an inherent contrast and can be translated “to be like the Lord and different from the world.” If we’re not any different, maybe it’s because we don’t know Christ or we aren’t living out the commitment we made to know him…
- Craig Groeschel
Learn more about Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World, which released May 1, 2012.
(Some styling above is web-exclusive and not included in the text of Soul Detox.This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer’s personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)