Sunday, October 6, 2013

Those Dangerous Leftovers by Martin Wiles

I enjoy leftovers, but left over for too long they become dangerous…even deadly.

Leftover defines itself. Generally speaking, the word refers to food. In my opinion, some foods are tastier as leftovers than when originally cooked. But food left over for too long can spoil and in turn spoil one’s stomach.

God warned Moses about leftovers and the danger they posed. But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live (Numbers 33:55 NLT).

Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt when she longed for dangerous leftovers (Genesis 19:26), and Paul pronounces a believer’s hungering for them fleshly living (Galatians 5:16).

Eating dangerous leftovers for me entails living by fleshly patterns instead of listening to God’s Spirit. Put more plainly…or Southernly, hankering after things I should have left behind when I chose to follow Christ. Things that no longer fit who I am. Patterns that lead to selfish or sinful living. God cleansed my old nature when he forgave my sins, but he didn’t erase from my memory those unwise patterns of living I learned along the way. Only by listening to his Spirit and depending on his power can I overcome these.

Leaving the dangerous leftovers behind often involves changing environments also. As with the gentlemen who recently told me that when he decided to follow Christ he left his bar hopping behind. Initially, he still visited them to associate with friends, but he would drink Coke instead of alcohol. Later, he stopped visiting altogether.

Leftovers left over for too long are best thrown away. They’ll only lead to an upset tummy and a tarnished testimony.

Prayer: Powerful God, encourage us to eat only of those things that are beneficial to our spiritual health.

Martin Wiles is a “preacher’s kid,” author, speaker, and freelance writer and editor currently living in Greenwood, South Carolina. He and his wife Michelle are founders of Love Lines From God, a devotional ministry that helps those who want to enhance their spiritual journey with Christ. His latest book, Grits & Grace & God, is available at Amazon.

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