Secondly, are we becoming more aware of toxins in our lives that obscure the perfect picture of Jesus? Are we walking in a biblically framed relationship with Jesus, or have we allowed the world to define who Jesus is and what He expects of us?
Some toxins are easy to spot. Not long ago a cable network introduced a reality show about mega-church pastors. The show focuses on the extravagant lifestyle of the pastors and the drama that exists in their unusual brand of faith. I don’t mean to suggest the ministries depicted in this show aren’t being used by God to change lives. God has shown me He can work through almost anything to help people find grace. But the show also reinforces a lot of unfortunate stereotypes our world has of the church that leads them to resist the kingdom. In a market-driven show about the work of Christ, it is easy to spot the toxins.
Other impurities are not so easy to detect. We have secret sins, hidden phobias, resentments, regrets and prejudices. Our work for the Lord is sometimes tainted by selfish ambition and self-absorbed theologies. How was it possible for Judas to walk with Jesus throughout His ministry and remain unchanged? How could Peter listen to Jesus’ warning about his denial and not have the courage to claim Him as Lord in the courtyard? Why did John Mark grow fearful and desert Paul and Barnabas during their first missionary journey, and what led Simon the Sorcerer to accept Jesus then try to buy the miraculous powers of the Holy Spirit from Peter? Three of these four examples had an opportunity to change course, purify their lives and let the 100% Jesus inhabit their hearts. One, Judas, was unable to recover from his crime.
Spiritual toxins, just like those occurring in the natural world, seep into our hearts undetected. Because they are so prevalent in every aspect of our environment change only occurs when the Holy Spirit convicts and the perfect person of Jesus calls us to a higher place. The process of detox is painful, but rewarding as we become more effective conduits of God’s grace to a lost and dying world.