Friday, October 20, 2006

How Does Your Soul Look?

Yesterday afternoon I walked along a West Virginia country road and snapped pictures of the Autumn day. I photographed this scene of a decaying school bus stop shelter.

As I reflect on this picture I easily come away with two different interpretations:

1. Nostalgia
2. Ruin

Let's begin with nostalgia. Can't you imagine generations of children sitting underneath the school bus shelter, waiting for the vehicle to take them to school? What kind of conversations did they hold? Were some happy to go and see their friends while others dreaded the sound of the approaching bus?

The students who used this bus shelter have long since passed into adulthood; many now may live far from their childhood waiting zone. As the seasons chase one another year after year the quiet rotting shelter stands and can give one a wave of nostalgia for an earlier (perhaps more innocent?) time.

However, this picture may strike you with a feeling of forlorn ruin. What once stood sturdily now sags, a shelter now worthless for the purpose of its creation. You wouldn't let your children sit in such a dirty and unsafe shelter.

What is the condition of your soul? Do you look back with nostalgia at Holy Spirit experiences you had years ago, oblivious to the ruin that now has come through present spiritual neglect?

As Paul warned:

"Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall." (1Co 10.12 ESV)

In Fetter Lane's third consecutive day of quoting Adam Clarke, two snippets will be added. Clarke notes in his Commentary:

"Let him that thinketh he standeth - Ο δοκων εσταναι· Let him who most confidently standeth - him who has the fullest conviction in his own conscience that his heart is right with God, and that his mind is right in the truth, take heed lest he fall from his faith, and from the state of holiness in which the grace of God has placed him."

"In a state of probation every thing may change; while we are in this life we may stand or fall: our standing in the faith depends on our union with God; and that depends on our watching unto prayer, and continuing to possess that faith that worketh by love. The highest saint under heaven can stand no longer than he depends upon God and continues in the obedience of faith. He that ceases to do so will fall into sin, and get a darkened understanding and a hardened heart: and he may continue in this state till God come to take away his soul. Therefore, let him who most assuredly standeth, take heed lest he fall; not only partially, but finally."

A ruined school bus stop shelter may be a nostalgic photo but an eternally ruined soul can't be made attractive no matter what camera is used. Keep the shelter of your heart strong.

What do you think?