South Florida has a ground water issue that not many other places in the U.S. deal with—the salinization of fresh water aquifers. Since 1985, there has been an increase in the salinity of the Biscayne Aquifer. In that time, there has been a 12-17% decrease in available freshwater. There are many factors, one of those is the amount of fresh water pumped out. If it is not replaced, it leaves room for salt water to seep in if the aquifer is inside the saltwater intrusion line. It is a threat to the purity of our water. There is a similar threat to the church.
We are here in this world and we are charged to keep the church “without spot or wrinkle” (Eph. 5:27). What are we allowing to seep into the church? The world around us is far from holy. The United States is seemingly more and more polarized on issues. Many are getting a steady diet of half-truths and politicized information, all of which drives a larger wedge between neighbors. While in the recent past we may have been able to talk about these differences and still be civil, even friendly, it seems like that ability is also slipping away. Is that also seeping into the church?
To keep the influences of the world around us out we must stand on the truth of God’s word. There is a lot of information out there that is being spun in every direction. The church should not be a place where that happens. “I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). Filling our hearts up with His truth should leave little room for the deception that is in the world. “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psa. 119:11).
To keep the influences of the world around us out of the church we must strive for unity. It is what Christ prayed for (John 17:21-22). It was what Paul prescribed for the churches (1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:3). “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:2-4). Do your part to maintain unity in the church (Rom. 12:18).
Lastly, to keep the influences out we must labor in love. “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Col. 3:14). Love looks for the best in others and keeps no record of wrongs (1 Cor. 13:4-7). We will need all of these and more for the church to keep the world out.