I had a brief conversation with Yani on the way back home last night after such an activity-packed day that started with a trip to the Adelaide Airport to see off a friend of ours who left Adelaide for good. We then drove to the inner suburb of Prospect to have some cake and cookies at Muratti before making our way to the pastor’s house for a prayer meeting and a meeting for all of the church workers. Our lunch afterwards (or more like an afternoon meal) was delicious nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice). As we were all invited to attend a birthday celebration, we made our way to Ascot Park, a suburb to the south of Adelaide after the meeting. All in all, a busy, tiring, and lip-smackingly fattening day! 😀
On the way back, we talked about some of our friends and she made a comment on one of our friends who seemed to want to have the best of both worlds: wanting to be perceived as godly and church-going but still also toying with questionable activities. I’ve had my share of mischiefs as well, but as I get older, I find myself having to choose or the other as I can’t have the cake and eat it too. I have also learned not to judge as I get older, despite my nature to be quite judgmental. However, it still annoys me when somebody is being undecisive and having the left leg in one boat and the other in a different boat. At one point, they are bound to fall …
The conversation reminded me of a thought that I had many years ago. It seems the tactic employed by the devil thesedays is to say, “Look – okay. I know that you’re a nice guy and all and that you are not toootally evil. I know that you are not totally “dark” but come on, surely you don’t want to be totally “light” either. You must allow yourself to have some textures, or a bit of colour? One can’t be totally black, or totally white. Surely grey is nicer?” Plainly spoken, the key theme thesedays is – “You can still be a churchgoing, God-fearing guy, but surely you can still engage in questionable activities from time to time? Surely they are okay? After all, “we are just human. Okay, you don’t want to be a black horse, but why be a boring white horse – just be a zebra and have fun.”
That temptation is strong for everybody, including me. I don’t lead a blameless life and I have a couple of stripes already as well when I fall into the temptations. However I get reminded of the strong words that are written in Revelations 3:15-16 (NLT) to the church in Laodicea “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” and the verse in Matthew 6:24 (NLT), which in this context talks about money but can easily be replaced with other things that we want to keep as our own personal vices, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” I am reminded of the verse that is my personal theme for this year, taken from Joshua 24:15b (NKJV), “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
It is hard maintaining a “stripe”-less life. The world out there wants to turn me into a zebra – neither dark nor totally light. I do realise that I have to be true to my decision to follow God and not to stray. I thank God for His continuous rebuking and reminding as I surely don’t have the strength nor the capacity to maintain a blameless life. I am amazed that He can continuously forgive myself and pick me up even when I passively abandon him in my days. I am thankful for a personal God.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. – 1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV)