An Inside Job

Pornography controlled Brad. His walls were papered with suggestive posters and his magazine collection rivaled that of the local adult bookstore. When he became a Christian, he sought help for his problem. A friend's counsel was simple and direct: strip the walls and burn the magazines.

   A week after the purge, Brad was talking with his friend again.

   "Well, how's it going?" his friend asked.

   "Terrible," Brad replied. "I did what you said, but now I stare at blank walls and see the most graphic pornography I've ever seen."

   Brad's story illustrates the complex problem of trying to be pure in a polluted world. To clear Brad's room of all that unhealthy stimuli was certainly a step in the right direction, but to believe that it was enough to curb his appetite is to ignore the real problem of evil.

   The cartoon character Pogo's famous statement says it best: "We have met the enemy and he is us." A pure environment

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doesn't necessarily make pure people. Avoiding movies, burning records, staying away from dances, or turning off the radio does not make anyone spiritually strong. In fact, these actually tend to produce the opposite effect, developing fragile Christians who must live in a controlled, censored environment — much like people who are so sensitive to germs and chemical pollution that they have to live in sterile rooms and breathe only filtered air.

   The real problem of evil is inside us and not on our walls or our stereo turntables. The purifying process must begin in the heart and mind. The Bible says: "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure" (Titus 1:15). God works from the inside out, not outside in. A pure heart makes for a pure world, not vice versa.

   A pure heart comes from knowing Jesus Christ and having Him recreate our hearts and minds through His Word. It's strictly an inside job. Once that process of change has begun, we begin to see differently. The Word of God becomes a compass that points us toward truth. With our new-found eyesight, we begin to sift out truth from wherever we find it — even in the most unlikely places. "To the pure, all things are pure."

   Sacred and secular are not labels we attach to external things. The sacred/secular distinction is actually a matter of eyesight, and you always find what you're looking for.

   For the Brad in all of us, the answer is not just a blank wall. The answer is to look into the Word and have our eyesight reconstructed. Then, as we walk through the world, we can see things correctly, rather than having to be victimized by it or protected from it.

Chapter 44  ||  Table of Contents