Know what is deadly and what is life-giving.
Are you aware there is one natural disaster that causes more deaths per year in the United States than floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes combined? According to research from the University of Maryland an average of 1500 residents of American major cities die because of the heat. The other natural disasters cause approximately 200 deaths annually in our country.
Yet, heat related deaths attract very little national attention. There are several factors that contribute to our lack of awareness of the danger of heat. First, death resulting from overheating does not always occur instantaneously and so we may not be aware of the actual cause of death until after the fact. Second, heat strokes do not produce the sensational media visuals that earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes do. Third, usually there is no loss of tangible property. In spite of what we say about the value of life, often we fear the loss of property more than we do the loss of life.
There is a spiritual parallel. When Christians lose their influence because of sexual, financial or abuse scandals it attracts attention and everyone grieves the death of Christian reputation and influence. While we must be aware that we are potentially susceptible to these scandals, they are not the most common reasons that Christian lose their spiritual vitality, influence and reputation. We forfeit the spiritual vibrancy of our souls and the opportunity to make a difference for the Kingdom of God more often by our sinful attitudes that we allow to go virtually ignored. We may not lose our jobs, families or positions in the church and community, but sinful attitudes do cause the death of spiritual vitality and Christian influence.
How do we avoid the spiritual disaster of sinful attitudes? We guard our hearts against anything that is destructive. We cannot avoid living in a world where sins exists, but we need to be careful that we do not over expose our hearts and minds to sinful influences. A heat stroke is not usually the result of hot weather, it is caused by over exposure on those hot days. In hot weather the medical community reminds us to drink plenty of water and to get proper rest. As Christians we cannot avoid all contact with the attitudes of the world, but we need to protect our souls and attitudes through worship, Bible study and Christian fellowship. Failure to engage in corporate worship, small group Bible study and daily devotions will allow the heat of life to crush your spirit and your attitude and your Christian influence will die.
Remember the words of Jesus in John 7:38 “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
See you this Sunday as we observe communion and nothing restores and gives life like remembering the new life Jesus gave us through His death and resurrection.