With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
What might these 'promises' be that are 'pulling us on'? We need only go back one chapter and read these verses: “I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people. So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good,” says God. “Don’t link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself. I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.” Now those are some pretty good words if you ask me! When we choose to 'leave for good' the things that corrupt our lives, leading us into compromise, we will find that the 'link' to those things begins to break. The more we 'lean into' that commitment, the greater the pull AWAY those things will be, and the link will eventually be broken for good.
What 'pulls' us away from those things and into new choices that lead to right living? It's God's Spirit living in us - moving us from what is damaging to our spirit into the things that will renew and replenish our lives emotionally, physically, and spiritually. In order to make a 'clean break' from whatever it is that defiles (pollutes, debases, or taunts us to do evil) or distracts (draws us away, diverts our attention), we must LEAVE the places or practices that defile and distract. There is a principle taught in scripture about 'leaving' and 'cleaving'. When we 'leave' something, we make a break - it no longer is what we serve. We choose to serve another. God is saying we need to choose a different 'master' over our lives - HIM. I know I speak a lot about 'choices', but the truth of the matter is that we never stop making choices. Even the choice to allow someone else to choose for us is a choice. The moment we choose to break the link with our past habits or sins, there will be a challenge inside of us. Our emotions will escalate, making us think this choice to live differently will be 'hard' or 'demanding' and we won't be able to do it. Our minds will recall all the 'other times' we said we were going to change, but then we fell back into the same old pattern again and again. This time, choose to 'break the link' - by being pulled by Jesus. We don't break the link because we pull ourselves out of the mire - we are pulled out of the mire by the hands of Jesus. What gets the muck off of us once we are unfettered from that mire? The Word of God and the Spirit of God within.
There is much to be said about 'breaking the link', but I think we overthink this way too much. We make it hard when Jesus says it is a matter of actively choosing. Not once, but actively making the choice to live free of the mire each and every moment - not by looking back at what had us bound, but by looking ahead at what frees us totally. Don't link up with those that pollute - did you catch that in the passage? This means we learn to live free with a change in the company we keep. The past has ties that must be broken, and this might just be why we aren't seeing those ties broken. We hold onto those ties - forgetting that Jesus says we need to let them go. Resentment is a tie - the person may no longer be in our present, but resentment keeps them front and center. Mistrust is a tie - the event that led to us no longer trusting isn't part of our walk now, but when we super-impose that mistrust on everyone and every circumstance of the present, we are tied to that past reaction. The link is broken when we let go - letting go of the rope might make us feel like we are falling, but the one behind us when we do will lift us to greater heights. Just sayin!
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