May 31, 2018
The Danger of Small Deviations
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. – Ephesians 4:1
Scientists now say that a series of slits, not a giant gash, sank the Titanic. The opulent, nine-hundred-foot cruise ship went down in 1912 on its first voyage from England to New York. Fifteen hundred people died in the worst maritime disaster of the time.
The most widely held theory was that the ship hit an iceberg, which opened a huge gash in the side of the liner. However, an international team of divers and scientists recently used sound waves to probe the wreckage, buried in the mud under two-and-a-half miles of water. Their discovery? The damage was surprisingly small. Instead of the huge gash, they found six relatively narrow slits across the six watertight holds.
Small damage, invisible to most, can sink a great ship. And “small” deviations from the moral principles of God’s Word are even more dangerous, for they carry eternal consequences.
We live in a world where corruption, dishonesty, and immorality are increasingly commonplace. However, God’s Word establishes certain lasting principles that are fundamental and universal. For instance, the Ten Commandments give us some moral absolutes. These principles do not change with circumstances, cultures, or eras in history, and they are the foundation on which the Christian life must be lived.
Paul counseled the believers at Ephesus to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1). Our values, our worldview, and our ethical behavior must reflect our commitment to Christ and who we are as Christians. How do we make sure this is the case? We begin by grounding ourselves in the Word of God. When we face an ethical question, we should search the Bible for what it says on that particular subject. We must maintain a close walk with God, making sure nothing hinders us in receiving guidance from Him. We should listen carefully to our consciences and to the Spirit of God as He speaks to us. Finally, we must obey what we know, responding to what God asks us to do.
Remember, integrity is built and maintained as we diligently apply God’s principles to our choices in life. We must guard against the small “slits” in our integrity that would imperil our Christian testimony. As we live each day as sanctified people who are controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit, we can depend on the power of God to direct our responses to each situation that comes our way.