There are many times and places in life that call for us to acclimate in order to survive and thrive as individuals. Climbing a high mountain that is 14,000 feet or more in altitude usually requires the body to acclimate first if it is used to living at sea level. When exploring a cave, one’s eyes must be given time to acclimate or adjust in order to see anything at all. A missionary heading to a foreign country must acclimate in social, language and environmental changes that will be experienced. All of these represent the necessities for getting along in a new environment. Essentially, these are good adaptations used to thrive (“Bloom where you are planted”).
However, we must be very careful about acclimatizing in spiritual matters. A church sign was posted which said, “Open doors. Open hearts. Open minds.” This sounds nice, even friendly and welcoming. Our openness and love should, indeed, demonstrate to the world around that we want to welcome them in. However, in the spiritual realm we must be very careful of what we are saying. Many churches have allowed themselves to be so open as to alter, change, and acclimate to a different doctrine, a false belief that leads to destruction rather than healing. Nehemiah 13 gives us a stern warning as to what can happen when we become too “open” and welcoming to the world around us. Verses 23 - 25 say this, “…I saw men of Judah who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah…I rebuked them…and said ‘You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or yourselves.’
It makes you wonder…”What might we have allowed our families and church members to ‘marry into‘these days?” We have been losing our young people from our churches and watched our families falling apart from acclimating too much to the world around us. Who is God? Creation or evolution? What is gender and how many are there? Who is in control of the education of our children? How do we decide what is right or wrong? Which prophet do we trust in? How do we determine truth in what we read or hear? All very important questions that today’s church has not always done well to answer.
In John 5 we read of the man who was healed by Jesus (“…pick up your mat and walk…”). When this man was asked who it was that healed him, “he had no idea (verse 13).” At this point he was physically healed, but spiritually dead. We cannot allow our churches to be so excited about people being healed, accepted and having a feeling of wholeness by the world’s definition, that we are leaving people spiritually dead along the way. Too quickly we acclimate to apathy when it comes to proclaiming truth. Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14: 6). With God’s help, may we never acclimate to a worldly message of death. Speak only truth, offer only eternal life!
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