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The frog is in the kettle

The story goes like this and it is stated as a truth. I have never tried it so I don’t know if it is true. If you take a big kettle, dip it into a pond and catch a frog from the same pond and put the frog in the kettle, then place the kettle on a stove at a very low heat the frog will not notice that the water is getting hotter. If you continue to turn the heat up very slowly the frog gets used to it and is finally boiled to death. Do not try this at home.

There is actually a point to this story. We live in a world and culture that is slowly turning up the heat on us as Christians and we aren’t even aware of it most of the time. I know that I am about to make myself sound very old and, in fact, I am. God is even older than me and it causes Him great grief to watch us sitting quietly in the kettle and not feeling any heat.

Rev 2:1, 4-6 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus 4 I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

The key phrase here is, “You have forsaken your first love” and the result is that we have not allowed God to set boundaries for our lives. We trick ourselves into believing that we are doing His will but we step over the line just a little and nothing bad happens so we think it is okay and step over the line a little more. Before long we have lost sight of the boundaries and we feel we have unlimited freedom. The only limits that we seem to keep are those set by the culture of friends that we want to accept us.

I work closely with the community court system and the court sends many people to the church I pastor to do their community service. Many have abused drugs and alcohol, many have stolen from stores and some have been in fights. When I suggest that to stay out of trouble in the future by become involved with young adults their age in their churches (95% of them are active in church) they tell me that it is their church friends they are getting in trouble with. What does that say about our respect for God’s boundaries and limits? Are we in hotter water than we realize.

It is interesting that we pay slavish attention to certain things. We limit the things we eat so we will look good. We limit the way we dress to be acceptable to the people we want to be like. We avoid certain people because we don’t want to seem weird; yet we ignore God’s limits when we seek out entertainment that is explicitly sexual, overly violent or cultic in nature. Who sets the standard for our entertainment and our actions with one another? We often live the way we are entertained.

Rom 12:1-2, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I know that these words can sound a bit preachy but they are not my words. They are God s words spoken through Paul. To understand them we must realize that they set limits on our behavior. The verses say that if we belong to God we have to play by His rules. The limits are there to give us freedom to go another direction, a direction that gives us freedom from the control of the world. The world will boil us until it kills us. Have you noticed a change in the temperature around you? Transformation that comes with faith in Christ does not come by staying in hot water all the time, it comes through moving about in God s world and discovering that there is something bigger, better and more dangerous in God s world. By dangerous I mean that the world you now live in won t like you very much.

By pastor Robert Rathbun