As you look back on your childhood your memories sometimes seem so vivid. I remember seeing movies that left such an imprint on me as a child. Some of those movies are the likes of Dumbo and Fantasia. There were scenes in those movies that I can remember so clearly. Another movie like that is Pinocchio (My parents are big Disney fans). The scene that sticks out to me the most is when Pinocchio goes to Pleasure Island. He follows some other boys to this amusement park where they are allowed to do anything they want. The things that are offered are fighting, drinking, gambling, etc. What struck me so powerfully though was how Pinocchio and his buddy began to change. The more they partook in the illicit behavior that was offered to them the more they changed. They began to change into “donkeys”. This park was designed to make”donkeys” out of them. I was struck with fear as a child as I saw the characters suddenly change and then the panic that they went through seeing how they had changed.
As campy of an illustration that may be, I think it actually gives us an honest picture of worldliness and how our lives can be affected by it. We often look to the world and our eyes light up. We think of the goodness and fun the things of this world will bring us. We want what others have. The thing that can be even tougher is that the world tells us that these desires are respectable things and that they bring status and power. The more we listen, the more we believe that fulfillment and satisfaction can be found in the things that the world has to offer. It could be anything from wealth to acceptance to twisted world views. What we don’t see is how it begins to change us. Unlike the characters in Pinocchio we begin to change gradually over time. Fundamentally our hearts begin to change. They grow colder and our worship changes. We begin to worship the idols in our lives. Ultimately this false worship brings ruin in our lives.
Thankfully God has not let us alone in our sin. He has entered our world and saved us. He knows where our idols will take us and He knows what they will make of our lives. The world and its idols are filled with lies. God is full of truth and the true worship of him brings us life and sanctifies us into the people that we were made to be. Let us cast away the idols that the world has to offer and set our hearts on Christ asking him to change our hearts. He calls us to himself to worship him the way that our hearts were made to.
Scripture: Ezra 9:1-15
Sermon: Come Out From Among Them