As humans, there are things that grab our attention and draw us to make certain decisions. Beauty is one thing that can draw us to someone or something. I enjoy beauty that is found in nature and I am drawn to go out so I can see God's incredible creation. Some people are drawn to the opportunity for power or control, and make life decisions based on what will help them fulfill those desires. Others are drawn to make decisions based on money. A few weeks ago, I looked at the moment that Lot and Abraham realized they would need to part ways in order for their households to thrive. Lot was given the opportunity to choose to live wherever he wanted; he chose to live in the fertile plains that showed beauty and a guarantee for his herds to be well fed. He was lured by the beauty of the land and he moved there without considering what the surrounding culture would do to him. Today, I want to look at how our desire for control can make us make decisions that are not good for us. Please read Genesis 19:1-11.
Verse one gives us an idea of Lot's standing in the city because he was sitting at the city gate. This was a place of prominence in this culture and only people with influence and power sat at the city gate. If you have been following along with me in Genesis, you may remember that one of the reasons Lot and Abraham needed to separate was because Lot had also become wealthy while he was with Abraham, which may be why he had enough influence to sit at the city gate. Lot showed hospitality to the men by offering them a meal and a place to stay the night in comfort. But as we continue reading these verses, we see why Sodom grabbed God's attention because the men in the city came to have sex with the strangers.
Things really were bad in Sodom; however, we also see some signs that Sodom's culture was starting to have an effect on Lot. Lot's response to the men's demands was to offer his two virgin daughters instead. I know that I do not completely understand the culture, but this still seems like an unusual response. He was trying to appease the men; however, he was also showing that he was willing to cause harm to his own daughters in his attempt. This is such an unusual thing because virginity was highly valued and usually fathers protected their daughter's virginity so that they had a better chance of finding a husband for them. The ending result was the men becoming angry with Lot and threatened harm to him as well. The angels protected Lot by blinding the men and the men gave up.
It is impossible for us to live somewhere where the culture doesn't surround us unless we chose to live in a commune. But, if we lived in a commune, how would we show God's love to the world? So, we need to live in the world! How do we keep the world from changing our values? I believe it is in the choices we make. We can choose to go to church and be actively involved in the church community. We can choose to make decisions that are based on godly wisdom rather than our human desires. We can choose godly friendships that will help us grow in Christ rather than making the world our close friends. We need to be in the world and reach out and show love to the world; however, the world doesn't need to define and change who we are. James 1:27 NLT says, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." We show God our faith by making decisions that help us grow in our relationship with Him rather than choosing to listen to the world and please our human nature.
What do you choose?
This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty and Monday Musings.