Vol. 8, No. 11
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Have you ever accidentally thrown something important away, and then had to spend time going through the garbage to find it? When it was all over, you probably showed the marks of where you have been. Either on your hands, or clothes, or by the aroma you now carried, where you were is clear. Even after going through all that, you may not find what it was you were looking for.
It was this way for King Saul of Israel. God, through his prophet Samuel, had told Saul to destroy the Amalekites. Instead, Saul kept the best of the spoils of war, and spared the life of Agag, their king. Samuel told Saul, "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams " (1 Samuel 15:22). Because Saul had rejected God by his sin, God rejected Saul as king (15:23). Saul had tried to find something good in doing evil, but only came out stained by sin. The effects of sin would ultimately lead to his demise (1 Samuel 28:15-19).
It can be the same for us, as well. We can't become involved in sin without the contamination of sin clinging to us. If we fill our minds only with what is in today's books, television, music or philosophy, we will sooner or later reflect it, in our thoughts, speech and actions. We should cultivate instead the positive influence of the spiritual, and the benefits it provides for life. Paul reminds us we are to "put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24).
We should be drawn to the love and salvation God has shown to us through Christ Jesus. Our hearts and minds should be filled with what is pure and holy. We must focus on that which builds up in Christ, rather than that which tears down through sin. Let us wear robes washed clean in the blood of the Lamb, not garments that are stained by sin. As the prophet said, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you" (Isaiah 26:3).