Sunday, September 20, 2015

From Within

It is notable that when we review history we find that the majority of civilizations don't fail because they are destroyed by some outside enemy.  They are, instead, destroyed by something that comes from within.  Growing up in the 60's I understand this as I think of the music idols that have lived and died while the world watched.  Jimi Hendrix ... a gifted and immense talent ... died from a drug overdose.  The list of other musicians dying of drugs is vast.  Rudy Lewis from the Drifters.  Jim Morrison from the Doors.  Gram Parsons from the Byrds.  Elvis Presley, the king of rock and roll.  Whitney Houston ... and I could go on and on.  Fame, money, attention, worldly honors were just not enough.  All of these musical giants were brought down from within.

 So it was with the church at Thyatira.  While it wasn't drugs, immorality and idols were the issues for Thyatira.  A woman in the church led some of the people astray by telling them she possessed "deep secrets" that were hidden to others.  This Gnostic theme would plague the Church for decades and it would bring suffering and pain to those in that congregation in Thyatira.

C. S. Lewis writes the best treatise ever about the workings of internal evil as his "Screwtape Letters" describe the daily work of a demon and that demon's apprentice.  Lewis' demon advises ... "Keep his mind on the inner life. He thinks his conversion is something inside him and his attention is therefore chiefly turned at present to the states of his own mind ..."  All of those artists, and possibly the Christians at Thyatira, were caught up in thinking about how they could feed their internal desires ... the desire to know more than the next person, the desire to allow their bodies to feel the pleasures they deserved and the desire to believe in something they could control (idols).  Maybe we should learn from them and remember that when we focus on God and others we fulfill our purpose and mission in life, and we find peace and fulfillment.  I think the Great Commandment was right!

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