Too Many Shades of Grey

I have a distinct memory of a former boss eating a dessert in the break room of our office. The dessert was quite tasty and he did everything to resist. Finally, he decided to have just a little bite, a nibble, and he cut off a small piece. So far so good, it seemed. Then he went back for just another little nibble, then another; well you get the point. In the end he ate a sizable dessert.

Now I do not consider myself to be legalistic, prudish or naive, but I am always surprised when I hear that people who profess Christ are participating in questionable (at times very questionable) things and seem to see nothing wrong about it. I was taken back a bit in listening to the news today to learn that 70 million people worldwide had read the Fifty Shades of Grey books. If you are not familiar with them, they are quite pornographic; including, according to the news, sadomasochistic sex.[1] The news people seemed quite casual about it all, no surprise, I suppose.

However, I hear that professing Christians are reading them.

Some believers think you can pick and choose from the prevailing culture, just a little nibble here and there, no big deal. Like going through the smorgasbord at the restaurant – “it’s ok to eat just a little of that – um, um!” Oh, it’s just a little thing; I’ll just read a little more of my Bible to make up for it. Of course, if the little nibble is arsenic, you may have a problem that memorizing another Bible verse or attending church twice might not so easily remedy.[2]

The lie is that things in life are gray,[3] you can do them or not do them and it matters little to your life with God. Well, that might be true if you mean what kind of toothpaste or dental floss you use, what kind of tires or wiper blades you put on your car. It is never true in regard to issues of moral choice. Every choice matters.

Why is this so? We are in the final analysis the sum of our choices; what we think about, what we do, what we focus on. Jesus’ parable of the soils is telling. Of all the soils, only one brought forth fruit. All of the others were fruitless because of the culmination of their choices. Oh, I know that some do not think this parable is about one’s eternal destiny, so what does it matter. But that is exactly the point! If you think this life is all about the next and it matters not how one lives in this life, you may well be endangering life in the next. But not for the reasons you think.

If you nibble enough at things you shouldn’t, you might just find that you no longer have an appetite for the things of God. Maybe an eternity with God will begin to seem a little quaint and nice, but not all that appetizing. You may find yourself among those whom Keith Green addressed in a little tract called, “Will you be bored in heaven?”

Perhaps the real question to ask is this: Why is it that we find our nibbling at the world so tasty when God lays before us a feast of cosmic proportions? What is with our hearts that this is so? Would it be that our hearts would be like David’s!

“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself; how I praise you! I will honor you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest of foods. I will praise you with songs of joy.” Ps. 63:1-5 NLT

Copyright September 4, 2013 by Mike Huckins

[1] Interestingly, these books are a favorite of the Islamic terrorist held at Gitmo, even more than the Koran – there’s a lesson there somewhere.

[2] A little here and a little there, of course, it is all poison to your conscience.

[3] In case it’s bugging you – grey is the British spelling (books’ author is British), gray is the American spelling. Why? We don’t have a king.

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