I have used the words “protective covering” to describe the roof, but why have I chosen to create a whole different section and name for the walls when they serve the same protective function? The walls that frame the outside of the building share many of the design basics as the roof, and yet I call it a “wrap,” not a “covering.” The answer is simple. There is one thing that we find in all protective wraps but in very few protective coverings: windows and doors. Necessary but counterproductive, they invite the outside in.
With all the measures taken to keep the outside, outside, in both the building of a house and the construction of the Christ follower’s life and the collective of Christ followers, windows and doors by their very design and function can pose a problem. There will always be times that doors and windows will be opened. Every time you open a door or a window in a building, something from the outside will get in. In the same way, we as Christ followers and the collective of Christ followers cannot be in this world without having some of the world get in. We open the windows and doors of our lives and churches to the outside, not so the outside can influence us but so that we can invite the outside to come in and be influenced by us. We want to be “in the world,” but we don’t want to be “of the world.” The problem is that the influence of the outside, once inside, can be far stronger than the influence and resistance coming from the inside.
Bricks and siding, shingles and flashing…
…and properly sealing windows and doors keep out the unwanted by simply not letting it come in. We put screens in our windows to keep out pests and locks on our doors to keep out burglars, all of which are proper responses to obvious threats. We have no intention of letting any of these things in, let alone inviting them in, but there are always times that we will choose to invite the outside in. There are reasons that we open the doors and windows of our home and invite the outside in, just as there are reasons that we will open the doors and windows of our lives and churches and invite the outside in.
As Christ followers and the collective of Christ followers, it is important to check the temperature of the world around us, to experience the positive things in the climate that surrounds us. It is not our calling to avoid contact with those who are not followers of Christ and shut them out of our lives and churches. External protective covering and wrap have done their job against the big storms and the constant erosion of everyday worldly influence. The windows and doors have sealed out the unwanted intruders. The insulation has trapped the desired temperature inside and blocked the undesired temperature outside, but at some point, we will have to let the outside, inside, on purpose. Good insulation will not allow the inside to become like the outside, unless you are going to leave the windows and doors open. The outside temperature may be noticed as it enters the room, but the inside temperature is maintained.
The problem is…
…many Christ followers and collectives of Christ followers don’t have good insulation. There is no stability, no mind that is constantly renewed, centered on God. Once they invite the outside, inside, they are overwhelmed, unable to distinguish between what is the proper inside temperature, what is not inside temperature but instead outside temperature, and what is a mixture of both. There is nothing to normalize, balance the temperature, and stop the outside and the inside from becoming the same temperature.
Insulation gives us a normal temperature…
…a way to stop the drastic swings from hot to cold and back. A mind renewed, focused on God, is not constantly changing but instead is being transformed to view the world differently, with God-given discernment.
“…Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Safely, the Christ follower and the collective of Christ followers can make contact with the outside.
Safely, the Christ followers and the collective of Christ followers can invite those who are outside, inside.
The Christ follower and the collective of Christ followers are safe because they know that God’s will is not a fad or a whim. It is not influenced by the climate of the world or the temperature in our life. We must be transformed to view things through His eyes, not conformed to think in the patterns of this world so we can “test and approve” what is “good, pleasing, and perfect” or, conversely, test and reject what is not!