Last week, three Islamic extremists shot and killed a bunch of civilians here in Paris. You will have heard about this on the 24/7 news cycle and seen #JeSuisCharlie written on every social media platform that exists. Everyone and their dog has an opinion on this and rightly so, it highlights the insanity of our world. I was convalescing at home with a severe bout of the flu and my main man at the BBC, Trev, texted me to switch on the news. That was Wednesday afternoon, what followed was surreal. I spent the better part of two and a half days in front of the tv watching reports from various news stations and it depressed me to no end. The constant rotation of on-the-ground updates, in-studio analysis, and eye-witness testimony was staggering. Helicopters, police, special agents, and terrorist experts, all beamed into my living room in real time. When it all went down in a hail of bullets, the coverage ramped up even further. YouTube videos from bystanders began hitting the Internet and we started to see things from angles that the BBC weren't showing. And no matter how many videos I saw, I couldn't get enough. Now that it has all died down, I find myself waking in the middle of the night and seeing those images in my mind. I picture a bunch of cartoonists in a Parisian office attending their weekly meeting as two gunmen storm the room and riddle them with bullets from AK 47 assault rifles. I see blood on the conference table and bodies slumped in chairs. It has really made me think about the things I expose myself to and that what I ingest, is what I desire. This has certainly been applicable to the news cycle that consumed me. Why wasn't I praying more intentionally for the victims or spending more time trying to find answers in the Word? If you look at your life, what is it you see that you feel you need to back away from? I have had alcohol take my life from me, almost for good on a couple of occasions. Another friend of mine almost lost it all to online roulette. Honestly, his stories are crazy. He'd come home from his job as a nurse at about 9 pm, and go straight to his room with a sandwich. He would then proceed to gamble until the sun came up, losing all track of time. Even when he was up twenty-five thousand bucks he couldn't cash it in and call it a night. In the end he had to beg and borrow to stop debt collectors from putting a hammer to his kneecaps. This is just the story of one guy. I have heard this same thing from people who cannot stop watching porn. Their relationships are destroyed because the reality doesn't match-up with the fantasy. Comfort food is another classic case. My wife and I chose to eat a lot healthier in August of last year, so we made a conscious decision to consume more greens, less meat, less sugar, and try to lay off the ice-cream and sweets a little. It wasn't because we had to, it was because we wanted to. If my body really is a temple then I have to respect it. After a few weeks, the sugar cravings went, as did the need to have that extra slice of cake. I felt more in control and I desired to live healthier.
Whatever you are exposed to is going to influence your life in profound ways. If you spend too much time with the jerk at work, chances are it's going to rub off. If you are in a friendship or relationship where the other person puts you down, how can you ever grow and reach your true potential? When I am in deep fellowship with good people, I really desire more of their company. Just as I spend more time focussing on my faith and less time on the Internet, I feel full of passion and a yearning to go deeper.
Psalm 119:105 ~ Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.