I remember Woodsy Owl’s television commercials from the early 70’s — I was, after all, the older end of their target audience. The National Forest Service wanted to educate young minds about the importance of caring for the environment.
In my reading this morning (I’m still doing the Soul Detox reading plan on YouVersion.com) I was struck by the same kind of campaign slogan — but without the cute character and catchy rhyme thing going on.
Each day there is a bit of text that provides context for the Biblical text in light of the plan. Today I read these world:
Our lives are full of cultural toxins, which are those things that are culturally acceptable, but hurt our souls. Cultural toxins can be found in the books we read, the magazines we read, the music we listen to, the television shows we watch, and in the movies we watch. When we allow cultural toxins into our lives, it pollutes us. This week you will learn what God’s Word says about the dangers of cultural toxins and the importance of focusing on things that draw us closer to God.
I have to admit that my unfiltered first response was something like “Oh great! A whole week of feeling guilty about….” (and if you read that with a tone of sarcasm, you were reading it correctly). I was relieved to find that there were only a few verses today — a couple from Proverbs and one from 3 John. Maybe I could read them quickly.
If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring. Proverbs 25:26
I read the other verses, but my mind got stuck on this first one of the three. Actually, the verse got stuck in me.
See, I have a little fountain on my patio that I bought on clearance a few years ago. I love it when it’s clean and full and functioning. I love the way the water looks and sounds. But keeping it clean and full and functioning takes work — and the longer it is in the outdoor environment where it was meant to exist, the harder it is. You see, water and sunshine is a great environment for algae to grow and once algae has started, it reproduces rapidly if not quickly eliminated. I know, because I’ve ignored it more than once and aways regret it.
I can keep the algae out if I keep the fountain dry. It would be even easier to do if I kept it dry and in the house. In a box. But fountains were made to hold water. Outdoors.
My soul, like that fountain, was created to live in me and I was created to live in the world. I was not created to hide from the sunshine in a box in the closet. And, like that fountain, I must be doggedly committed to avoiding the pollutants when I can and dealing with them quickly when I can’t.
It is ridiculous that sometimes I practically go out and fill a bucket with muck and toss it in. If I did that with my patio fountain, I’d know I’d lost my mind. Why do I do it with my soul? And so I am asking the Holy Spirit to show me anew the things that I too easily let into my soul by invitation or simply a lack of intention to keep it out. I’m asking Him to be the bouncer at the door, in a way. Which mixes metaphors, but makes sense to me.