Leaven – the Big Picture
One does not have to look very far to find news that supports the biblical outline of prophecy. For example, take this headline from a recent Current Affairs journal: “America’s Coming Age of Instability.” The prophet Amos was inspired to write, “An adversary shall be all around the land; He shall sap your strength from you. And your palaces shall be plundered” (Amos 3:11). A coming age of instability indeed!
Foundational underpinnings that hold society together are being sapped of strength. But we know that. We know it because we have been forewarned that this would happen in the last days.
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and referenced that in the last days perilous times would come (2 Timothy 3:1). The word Paul chose was chalepos, which implies a reduction of strength, something that is difficult and dangerous. We note that he is writing for the benefit of the Church. It is a warning, so this is much more than an observation of world conditions.
The prevailing conditions at this time could reduce the strength of God’s people if we allow the world to get too close. In this, a reduction of strength and instability become bedfellows. The comprehensive list Paul supplies of things that can reduce strength all have one thing in common – sin!
“The look on their countenance witnesses against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves” (Isaiah 3:9).
At this time of year, we focus very appropriately on sin. We acknowledge that our sins killed Jesus Christ. Accordingly, we search our lives for any leaven which represents sin and commit to removing it from our lives. We desire to represent God by living unleavened lives – by not letting sin reign in our bodies nor letting it have dominion over us. “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Romans 6:17).
This process enables us to become stable, strong, focused as individual units within the overall body of Christ. “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-2).
As encouragement to work diligently in putting leaven out of our lives, let’s include the big picture in our thinking. The world is becoming more unstable due to sin. The world needs to be able to see a strong stable people who are trying with all their might to represent the will of God.
It is a challenge, but through Jesus Christ we are up to meet the challenge.