I had a spirited conversation with a friend not long ago, who, like many people, has developed some pretty firm views on the issue of “border security.” It can be a divisive issue, both in terms of one’s general philosophy about who to keep out of the country, as well as the best ways of doing it.
There is another type of “border security” which doesn’t get as much press time. We need to be thoughtfully considering who and what to “keep out” of our lives, and the best ways of accomplishing that. Here are a few “pillars” I would suggest from God’s word, which should be taken up seriously and enacted immediately:
1. We need to recognize the fact that there are undesirable influences trying hard to enter our lives. The Christian life is like a boat on a worldly sea. Things work pretty well so long as we keep the water out of the boat, but when the water gets into the boat we have problems. When a Christian allows worldly influences and unfruitful activities into his life, he is headed for trouble. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them,” (Eph. 5:11). To have fellowship with them is to share your life with them, to participate in them. The “unfruitful works of darkness” need to be devoutly avoided, abstained from by the child of God. In fact, such works are to be “reproved,” which means to bring them to light, show their dangerous character.
Worldly talk, profanity, vulgarity, foolish jesting, lies, boasting and disrespectful insinuations should never creep into the Christian’s speech, regardless of how common and widespread they may be in the world around us. Immoral conduct, illicit sexual acts, cruelty, theft, and other sinful actions should be steadfastly avoided by the child of God, and never allowed to slip through our “borders.” And all ungodly thinking, jealously, hatred, impurity and dissimulation should be seen for what it is: inadmissible and alien to the Christian.
2. We need to erect a border wall and other safeguards immediately. It’s one thing to recognize the dangers out there, but it is another thing to take affirmative steps to guard against them. The Christian should surround himself with the providential care and protection of God, the prayers of his children, the companionship of our brethren in Christ, and a schedule of healthy activities which includes prayer and study of his word. These things form a hedge which is difficult to penetrate, (Ps. 119:11).
Most Christians who fall away first allow themselves to become idle in their work for the Master. It may be a change in jobs or other circumstances which produces a lot of spare time, or more time in the company of bad influences. The Christian may at first think that he is strong enough to withstand these temptations, but over time they begin to have an effect. Too much time spent in the company of temptations tends to weaken our resolve. The best way to win over temptations is to avoid them in the first place. Think of it like building a wall of protection around the various days of your week. Are there weak spots? Points of entry? Are there times where, because of your companions, or schedule, you are especially susceptible? Think about how you can change your schedule or routine to erect a border wall in those areas.
3. We should understand that the cost of these safeguards may be expensive, but must be paid regardless. Don’t let anyone fool you, it is expensive to build walls. It is going to take time, money, energy, and resources. It may be difficult and unpopular at times. It is much easier to not worry about it and simply do what you want. But Christ calls us to a life of self-denial, a life which considers the bigger picture. It’s a mindset which recognizes how short physical life actually is, and why we are here in the first place. A life which makes a difference!
Once you make the commitment, and rise to the challenge of building such walls in your own life, you will be glad you did. It will save you a lot of expensive damage and painful repairs down the road. It may save you from falling into an irreversible problem or heartache.
Border security may be a controversial and even unpleasant subject right now. But it’s your life, and ultimately you are the only one who can protect it. You must decide who and what you will allow into your life, and what safeguards you will install to enforce your decisions. God is ready to help you, and has given the instructions you need. He will protect and strengthen you if you let him. But at the end of the day, each of us must decide where our borders are, and how strong they are going to be.
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.