On my front door is a little device into which I enter a code to unlock the door. My family and a few of my friends know the code. It is implied that they are welcome to just ‘’walk in” anytime. They do not need an invitation. I truly enjoy extending hospitality, but not everyone I know gets the code to the front door.
In the passage we are reading this morning, Paul reminds us not to give the code to the front door of our heart to just everybody! “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16, NLT)
Christians are to be loving and accepting of others, regardless of their status, their beliefs, even their moral choices. We model our lives after Jesus who spent time with the outcasts and received condemnation for it. The Pharisees scathingly accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” He wore the label even insisting that He came to save those who were spiritually sick, that it was those most in spiritual distress that received His message of the Kingdom.
However, the people to whom Jesus opened His heart, those with whom He prayed and shared the deepest parts of Himself, were His disciples. Even within the 12, there 3 who were an inner circle; Peter, James, and John. These men were included in His sorrows, witnessed the raising of a dead girl, and joined Him at the Transfiguration.
We must be loving but wise, recognizing the importance of our own inner circle, the people who know our failures and successes, who know the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of our lives, who share our faith and love. The Word tells us that those we invite into that place in our lives must love God. It is not that we are superior to anyone else. We want those who have the code to be able to share the weight of serving God, to pull in the same direction as we do, to be those who know and speak ‘truth’ into our lives.
Who has the code?
Who is on your team?
Are they people who love God as you do?
Will they stand with you – when you fail as much as when you win?
Is theirs a heart full of the Spirit?
Here is a word from the Word. May it remind all of us to strengthen the ties with those who are in our inner circle. “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NLT)
Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong
And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go\
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends
With the faith and love God’s given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you’ll live in
Is the strength that now you show
No a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends
Deborah D. Smith | Michael W. Smith
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