Monday, July 11, 2011

Morning Prayer Guide - Monday

Read: 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:2 and Psalm 40:1-8

St. Paul exhorts us to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. While many have used this to say that Christians are not to marry nonbelievers, this is not the whole story. The word “yoke” comes from a Greek word that is a military term, meaning to break ranks. Paul is telling us not to leave the Christian community to join that of the world. Paul wanted them to avoid the pagan feasts and festivals for which Corinth was known. The idea of not marrying a non-Christian is certainly a part of this, but it wasn’t by any means Paul’s original intent.

Paul goes on to write that we are temples of the living God. We do not want to defile the temple by allowing things that displease God to enter the temple. Entertainment is the area which carries the greatest risk, because it seems harmless. All of our friends are watching this movie or reading that book or listening to this music. We want to watch and listen, too. But sometimes we have to draw a line and say that we will not participate. And sometimes doing that will make others angry, as though you are condemning them by not participating.

For instance, there are some who choose not to read or watch anything related to Harry Potter. While it seems that most of the English-speaking world, Christian and nonChristian alike, has read the series and watched the movies, and while many claim to find Christian morals and lessons within, this is one line some people drew early on. It is not to condemn anyone or to say that others cannot participate. It is because they feel that to do so would displease God. It isn’t about anyone else, it is about their relationship with God, and not wanting to defile the temple. Others find inconsistency when these people who refuse to read Harry Potter are then caught with CS Lewis’ Narnia series or JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books, but again, it has nothing to do with what others think, but about what God thinks.

Take some time to think this over. Put aside your personal feelings for a moment and really think about it. Do you participate in activities that displease God? Are there ways in which you are unequally yoked to the world? Do you need to put some things aside? You may find the following prayer helpful:

Merciful God, forgive us where we have failed you. Help us to follow your ways. Help us to put aside the things of this world and focus completely on you, that we might follow you all the days of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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