A few years ago the Associated Press reported a chilling incident from Tacoma, Washington. A little boy had been kept in a coffin-sized box for over two years because his step-grandmother thought he was brain-damaged. The rectangular box was 6 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet.
Once he was released from the box and authorities interviewed him, the horror of his situation was magnified. Psychologists reported that the little boy never tried to escape because “he did not know any different kind of life.” It was, for him, normal. He didn’t know any better.
The psychologists also discovered the boy was allowed out of the box regularly on only two occasions: 1) to go to the bathroom, and 2) to attend church.
Sadly, this tragic story illustrates the world many of us are trapped in, even in the Christian community. We have been fitted into the box of our secular world that shapes our thinking, and our lifestyle. Our culture tells us as Christians that we are free to climb out of our box once a week to go to church, but we dare not consider bringing our faith to bare in our culture, our schools, or our workplace. And many of us don’t object, because “we do not know any different kind of life.”
To borrow from the King James, “Brethren, this ought not so to be.” God has called us to be salt and light in our culture, to be difference makers. But salt is no good if it’s left in the salt-shaker, and light is of no value when it’s covered by a basket, as Jesus taught. That means we have to climb out of the box the world would like to confine us to, with a God-given mandate to bring positive change in our society. We can’t do that by living compartmentalized lives where we venture out only to “go to church” for an hour or so a week. Our relationship with God must daily impact our lives, or we’ll never impact the world around us.
Paul wrote in Romans that we should “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 god, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) That only happens when we make a conscious decision to live outside the box the world has built for us.
So let me encourage you today to be bold in your walk with God, and to never settle with being trapped in isolation and seclusion, when God has so much more out there for you. May He use you this week to make a difference in the lives of those around you for His kingdom sake.
I’m praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you Palm Sunday.