I am thoroughly enjoying my time here in Germany. It's hard to believe that I am living here in the middle of the Alps! I would have never envisioned this being my life a year ago. You never know what God has in store!
Most of you know already that I have been assigned to work in the custodial department on night shift. It's interesting, as soon as I tell people here what my job is, they visibly wince and ask how I am dealing with it. I don't think it's really a big deal mostly because my sister, my brother, and my brother-in-law have all worked night shift positions and I've seen them handle it, I don't think it will be terribly difficult for me. So I try to have a positive attitude and hopefully better represent the Savior. Although I would have preferred the 5am shift, I know the Lord has a purpose in placing me where He has me.
So what is life like here? It's interesting and challenging. Nearly everyone here is into three things: the World Cup, traveling, and drinking. I'm not into watching sports, I prefer to play them so I am out of the loop in regards to the World Cup, although I do love to play soccer. The traveling part I can identify with since I have always been fascinated by geography and history, so i can converse easily on these subjects. The drinking, not so much. I've explained to a few that although drinking is not a sin, I decline from it primarily because it can lead very quickly to drunkness (which is sin) and other sinful behavior, not to mention saying or doing things you will later regret. (Editor's Note: Because I don't participate doesn't mean I am condemning those who partake in a wise manner, nor do I consider myself better than them in any way.) This means I have a limited social life since I don't go out to the bars and clubs, but God will send me friends in His own way I have realized.
Two night security guards have befriended me (their office is right next to my room and I have to pass it every time I go to the bathroom) and I am trying to be a witness to them (they are both Catholic and in their sixties, for some background here). One has told me on two seperate occasions that he hopes I am not corrupted while I am here. I was touched by this non-Christian who wants to see me do right. My response to him was that God's word clearly lays out the consequences of sinful behavior and I am continually aware of them through reading His word on a regular basis. This is the primary reason for the direction of this post, because I have been contemplating standing strong amidst a world that is sinking into hell, yet needs Christians to live with them, love them, and tell them about the Lord. CJ Mahaney writes in his book Worldliness that seduction from the world, rather than persecution by it, is the biggest challenge facing Christians today.
It would be foolish and prideful to think that certain sins are unable to touch you, or that you are stubborn enough, to resist. It is this kind of thinking that will allow you to be decieved and fall into sin blindly. As Christians, we are no longer under the weight of sin, however, we are neither immune to it either. Paul warns in I Corinthians 10:12, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall." And one more from Proverbs 16:18, which we all have heard, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
We clearly need to be on guard, vigilant against our flesh, the world, and Satan (I Peter 5:8-9) at all times. Especially our flesh I'd have to say, since we are so easily deceived by sin, which is why it is so needful to have the fellowship of other Christians. Hebrews 3:13 says, "But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called 'Today,' so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." It is so easy to see the sins in others and be impatient with them for it, and at the same time be completely blind to our own sin. This is where our relationship with other Christians comes into play very helpfully, by pointing out to us our sin. Ouch! It certainly does hurt at the time but will reap eternal benefits for us as we correct our behavior. So we must not be proud but humble about who we are -weak people in need of God's enabling, strengthening grace!
And of course, spending time with the Lord is so needful. That's where our strength comes from to withstand temptation and to choose what is right. Continuing to cultivate that love for the Lord is a sure safe guard to avoiding sin and overcoming temptation. When I think about the lure of the world, I'd rather stay with my Savior, I'd rather have Jesus (love that hymn). And who wouldn't who knows Him and loves Him?