At our house we are in a mini battle with our 2 year old Henry. Our youngest absolutely loves Pioneer Park which is maybe a half a block away from us. He is relentless in his attempts to get out of the house and run to the Park. Like all two year olds he requires constant monitoring. We catch him unlocking dead bolts and pulling chairs over to the door so that he can get high enough to undo the chain as well. Just moments ago he went and put on his shoes so that he could climb over our chain link fence so that in his words “he won’t hurt his feet.” If you come in our home you’ll find not only a lock, dead bolt and a chain at normal height but a second chain at the very tip top of the front door. The last line of defense is the front gate, which used to have a carabiner that you had to unsnap in order to be able to unlatch the gate. He has now learned how to unsnap and take off the carabiner and go out the front gate if given enough time. In response, we now have a keyed lock on the front gate. Since our goal is to keep him in but not make it more of a hassle than necessary for the rest of us the key to the lock is hanging on a carabiner high on the fence. For a visitor first seeing this arrangement we look like idiots–“we want to lock you out but here’s the key for your convenience.” As I think about our fence it reminds me of the human condition. Sometimes we think that what defiles a man comes from the outside. Yes, there is much wickedness on the outside that we should guard against. However, I believe in the gospel not just morality. The real issue is on the inside. The line between good and evil does not run between groups of people but within each human heart. The prophet Jeremiah tells us that our hearts are deceitful. Jesus tells us that what defiles a man is not what he puts in his mouth but what comes out of it. When we become a Christian we receive a new heart and a new Spirit. The core issue is settled. Now I’m not claiming that Christians are sinless because I’ve never met one yet. But we are fogiven and become children of God. Our old sinful nature of the flesh is now locked away, but always trying to get out. When it comes to holy living, vigilence is required.
Under His Mercy,
Derek Dickinson, Minister