2 Corinthians 6:17-18
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
There are many Christians who have heard this phrase: “Come out from among them,” and yet they seldom understand–much less obey such a command. As I read this set of verses I’m reminded of just how often even those Christians which desire to walk uprights with the Lord, still stay attached at the hip to the unclean things of the world.
When I first stepped out in obedience to the Lord in ministry in the local church I had no clue what it truly meant to try to wake up sleeping Christians. I knew what the Lord told me, To do it, but I hadn’t fully grasped what that would entail. When I began working within the local church I was met with a mixture of encouragement and discouragement. I was discouraged by those who verbally explained they expected to see me fall. They saw my zeal and attempted to throw water on the fire by commenting how they once felt the same way but “learned better” over time. Then there were a select few who encouraged me with prayer, and words from the Lord, and who equally had a zeal for the Lord and caused me to think they wanted to work together in ministry. Over the years though, no matter what I could say to anyone, I saw their zeal turn to ice and I was left trying to be a team who no longer wanted to be a team or even move. Many of them fell away entirely. Some continued going to church but did little else. And in recent years I find myself struggling to keep zeal, and even to keep from becoming bitter against those who I gave so much of my life to, so many years, and don’t even recognize or use the work done. I often feel like saying the same thing Paul said in
“I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”
I try every day to understand I’m not alone in feeling this way, and am reminded that even Isaiah said the same in
“Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.”
Yet just as Isaiah completed the thought: “yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.” I have to remind myself to not lose zeal, and to keep going if even alone, because the Lord is who called me.
Getting to today’s verse though, the largest cause I have found behind all those above who either have fallen away or have lost their zeal over the years, is because of attachments to something in the world. No, I’m not talking about some buddhist ideology of becoming “unattached” I’m talking about what the Lord says regarding “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, … and touch not the unclean thing.” I’ve noticed the largest reason that many have fallen, or grown cold, is because there is something that has lured them to stay “in” something with the world. There is something that has taken their eyes off the Lord and set it on this temporary world with its temporary troubles. And I know the pull myself, and have to fight against it myself. The Lord does not tell us for nought, that if we are to follow Him we are to take up our cross, to consider the cost, to give up the world…and follow Him. There are true, and valid reasons for it!
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it ? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
The reason the Lord tells us such seemingly extreme things is because He knows how we are! If we don’t get something out of our eyes, we will end up going back to them and seeing those things only. It is paired with
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
There are many things that are “not sin” which…actually are sin! There are many decent things in life that are not morally wrong, but are spiritually deadly. There are so many things in this world which are like leeches, which have attached themselves to us and feed on us! And just as leeches whose saliva numbs the area so the victim doesn’t notice, these things numb their cut in our lives to where we don’t notice what they’re doing to us! The only way we can tell is by the fact that as they continue to suck the spiritual life from us, feeding on us, we slowly….sometimes unnoticed….grow weaker and weaker. Then comes the day when our zeal, our spiritual desire to Be Holy as God is Holy, is at best…a tony whisper we no longer pay any heed.
I’ve seen it too often that the neglect of the command to “Come out from among them, and be ye separate” AND “touch not the unclean thing,” has caused Christians to attach, or stay attached, to things that feed on them and suck them spiritually dry. And this is such a tragedy like none other I’ve seen. And it’s such a trap that all of us must beware of! Let’s not forget, or neglect, so great a command as in today’s verse. The consequences are more dire than you may realize!
I love you all and pray the Lord lead and guide you! I pray that you keep the path, fight the good fight, stay the course, stoke the fire of zeal for the Lord, and grow in what the Lord has you here on earth for.
Love always in Christ, Your Brother, Michael