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|When Not Too Much is Way Too Much
By: Dr. Skip Myers
web posted December 5, 2005
Listen. Shh, just listen. I am convinced that if we will just take some time and listen to the world around us we will then run to the nearest pharmacy for a good pair of earplugs! I’m not talking about current trends in music as so many ride down the road determined to share this gift with the entire known world. I’m not referring to that obnoxious person who occupies the desk or the pew next to you. While these may be annoying, they are at best noise that can be tuned out if we try hard enough.
The noise level of our society may be difficult for you to take but there is another form of noise that brings even more distress to us. Listen to the logic that is espoused by many and relayed by the media. It is amazing what we have to tell people these days. Just to listen to some of this brings a realization of what is missing in our world. Now, I don’t want to sound like some kind of prudish preacher who wouldn’t know how to have fun if it fell on him. But follow me on this.
The other day I was listening to a local radio station that takes the entire month before Christmas and plays nothing but seasonal music. During one of the breaks, the station personality read a survey of things you should not do this holiday season if you are meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time. Among the items mentioned were: not too much swearing, not too much drinking; not too much physical affection.
I found myself thinking what is “not too much” and when is “not too much” way too much? How much swearing, drinking, and affection is not too much and therefore, acceptable to those around you and how much is way too much? Who sets the standard of not too much and way too much? Am I using now using “way too much” way too much to try and prove a point? Sorry.
I guess the central thought is--have we reached a point in our society where you actually have to tell someone not to do these things when meeting other people for the first time? The fear is that we are allowing a fickle, ever-changing society to set the standard of acceptability. For those who are not based in faith this may seem acceptable albeit a confusing ride at times. But when such an ever-changing society is left to set the standard for faith-based individuals what we find is a weakening of faith and the relationship in which that faith is founded.
Let me share with you a passage in which the Lord establishes the standard for His people. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also, in all your behavior. I Peter 1:14-15 Be holy! It is an attainable goal. And notice that the Lord intentionally points out that we are to look to our behavior to assess if our holiness is growing.
There are times when “not too much” drastically effects our personal holiness. Notice I am not saying our personal “holier than thou” attitude. Holiness is not assessed by comparing our lives to others and then loudly pronouncing ourselves better. Personal holiness is always assessed by comparing our lives to the life of Christ. By setting Jesus as our standard, we are always moving forward and growing. We are continually discovering new heights of personal joy by allowing the Lord to enable personal victory over those things in our lives we know are not what His love wants for us.
Take time to do some personal inventory guided by the Lord. See what you have to justify to Him by saying its not too much or a little bit is okay. Take these habits, actions, and thoughts and place them next to His nature. That makes it harder to say a little bit isn’t too much. With some things, even the smallest amount is way too much.
Maybe you have the not too much attitude about spiritual things: not too much church, not too much Bible, not too much prayer. I find when I set the limits for my spiritual life that I am greatly cheating myself and denying myself a wealth of blessings the Lord wants me to experience. He always wants more for me than I want for myself. After all, giving His Son for my life was not too much for His love of my life.
Dr. Myers is Pastor of Smiths Station Baptist Church, Smiths Station Alabama and a former Youth Minister of Sweetwater Baptist Church (1981-1986)
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