In my work I am surrounded by people. Many people. Different ages, different cultures, different levels of intellect. I work at a University. A world of diversity, from starry-eyed first generation freshman to seasoned seniors ready to take on the world. From long-term staff members to tenured faculty members. From people with only a high school diploma who had an “in”, to those with several graduate and doctoral degrees. There are many, many people here. Yet I am stranded on Salvation Island, which can seem like the loneliest place in the world to a Believer in Christ.
It is very important to me to say what I mean and mean what I say, and when I say that Jesus saved me, cleansed me from my sin, and renewed me, I mean it. My redemption was not a struggle because I was tired of my sinful lifestyle, my lifestyle of rebellion. When Jesus came into my life he took many things away that people struggle with: smoking, drinking, promiscuity, cursing, pride, arrogance, and even a theft spirit. Yes, stealing can be a spirit! I am truly a 2 Corinthians 5:17 individual, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Which brings me back to my original thought. You would think being surrounded by as many people as I am each day, my existence would not seem like being on an island, but it is. I am not haughty, nor do I think I am above anyone else because I am saved. My salvation was an act of grace, which is available to all. However, it makes my heart really sad to meet a “brother” or “sister” in Christ, only to find out later this person is not walking in their proclamation, but are in fact the antithesis of a “new creature”. Of course some reader or another will say, “Well PW aren’t you being a bit judgmental?” My answer to you is, nope.
I will give you this from Gotquestions.org instead of spelling it out myself:
The Bible’s command that we not judge others does not mean we cannot show discernment. Immediately after Jesus says, “Do not judge,” He says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs” (Matthew 7:6). A little later in the same sermon, He says, “Watch out for false prophets. . . . By their fruit you will recognize them” (verses 15–16). How are we to discern who are the “dogs” and “pigs” and “false prophets” unless we have the ability to make a judgment call on doctrines and deeds? Jesus is giving us permission to tell right from wrong.
The last four words of that paragraph “tell right from wrong” is what keeps me on my island. Ephesians 5 states, Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (KJV). The last thing I want to do is to be associated with someone else’s sinful lifestyle or have their acts and/or actions attributed to me as well. I try and preserve my Christian witness at all costs.
What I am seeing daily are the fruits of those who claim salvation, and the fruit is indeed either rotting or rotten already. Yet I must sit idly by on my island of isolation and hope one day there is just one other who shares my faith and hope in Christ Jesus. I have to admit this is a lonely life to have; I love my job and I love my interactions with different people, but many times during the day I have this empty space, especially when I feel joyful just because I woke up or because my drive to work was without incident, or because I have this hope and expectation of Christ’s return. I want to share my joy with another believer, but I cannot give my “pearls to swine”.
There used to be a person or two here who shared my faith, but just like the patrons on the island show Survivor, they have systematically been “voted off” the island, leaving me with no one except those who seem to appreciate the obscene, profane and immoral. I pray each day that God either makes changes, heals his people’s hearts or removes me from the island, but I know it is His will that I be here for a set amount of time. In the meantime, I will patiently wait on my island while I sip living water and eat the bread of life.
Are you on your own personal island? Please know you are truly not alone. Just beware of sharks!
As always, thanks for reading,