Oh the sweet, sweet smell of . . . a football locker room! Wait, what? That’s right, I said it. That smell transports me back to my youth quicker than Doc Brown’s DeLorean Time Machine ever could. I can instantly hear the crack of the pads, see the dirt and the mud on the faces of my fellow teammates, and that intoxicating smell of sweat, evidencing that testosterone is flowing at max capacity. Those were the days!
Okay, I admit, my memory’s not quite what it used to be and maybe I’m romanticizing it a little bit. Okay, probably a lot. Truth be told, although the memories are priceless, that smell was just plain gross! Nauseating in fact. How in the world anyone can survive (let alone tolerate) that smell for any more than a minute or two is beyond me. But somehow, we did. For hours at a time; meetings and pep-talks and for towel-snapping each other (don’t ask). We just got used to it I suppose.
I wonder how many other “stinky” things in life we just get used to? Maybe for you it’s an Amazon addiction that keeps the credit cards maxed-out. “Hey, everyone is living on credit and working paycheck to paycheck. Debt’s just a part of life.” Maybe it’s that extra glass or two of wine to take the pressure off. “‘Wine with DeWine’ is a real thing. No big deal.” Maybe it’s you or your kid’s sport or hobby. “I know it keeps us from plugging into a church and spending quality time with God, but it’s teaching hard work and teamwork. That’s all good stuff, right?” Are you a Work-a-holic? Sports-a-holic? Hobby-a-holic? There’s a lot of truth in the saying, “Good can be the enemy of great.”
1 Corinthians 10:23 says, “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything.
The things we do to unwind and relax are not necessarily, in and of themselves, bad. But when they become our priority, our #1 go-to thing, before our relationship with God, then we’ve got what the Bible likes to call an “Idol.” We need to recognize our sin and destructive patterns as a stench that shouldn’t be tolerated, but exterminated. And let’s remember that many times we can’t see our own blind spots. We need each other to help identify the issues, along with the insight and guidance of the Holy Spirit, who’ll then lead us through the true and lasting change we so desperately want and need. I encourage you to be humble and courageous, inviting Jesus and others close to help identify the areas of our lives that are creating a stench, and ask Jesus to exterminate them once and for all.
May God Bless You and Yours!
~ Pastor Mitch