The point of walking away from toxic people is to walk toward reliable people, hopefully those whom God has supernaturally appointed to be touched in a special and powerful way, and who will be faithful to, in turn, reach others. It can sound arrogant to think that our time is so important or that we can make a difference, except that, for Christians, our calling and empowerment come from God, not us: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians. 2:10).
Those who early order When to Walk Away by October 7 will receive an additional free digital download of a book I wrote some years ago, originally titled The Beautiful Fight and re-released as Holy Available. I set out to write a book on accepting Christianity as more than an historical reality but also as a present power, particularly by offering the parts of our bodies—our eyes, mouths, ears, minds, hands and feet, and hearts—as tools for God’s service. John Ortberg wrote, “The first chapter alone is worth reading many times. This is beauty and struggle. This is the death that leads to life.”
Holy Available is a good compliment to When to Walk Away by presenting a positive healthy view of the impact every believer can have if we truly surrender to God and use every moment for his glory and service.
Here’s an excerpt to give you a taste, from the “Hands and Feet” chapter:
Walking through the Narita airport in Tokyo, Japan, my oldest daughter, then barely a teenager, spoke one of her classic “Allison” phrases: “I feel like such an outsider,” she said.
I laughed and replied, “That’s because you are.”
Our trip eventually took us into Singapore, an impressive, cosmopolitan country. As we strolled past the Clarke Quay, I began praying for the people, including those who would hear me speak in a few days.
My mind wandered to an article I had read about a rising “sexual tourism” in Thailand, in which young women and men were often lured into the country with promises of false jobs, and then virtually imprisoned and forced to sell themselves into sexual service for tourists.
Because I was an outsider in Singapore, I thought of what I was bringing to the country: Truth, I hoped; encouragement; a manifestation of the risen Christ; a passion for God. All of these things would be good gifts, precious splashes of glory that I prayed God would spread through me.
But a war also rages within me. Like the “sexual tourists” in Thailand, I could bring something much different: My lust; my pride; my selfishness. It brought me up short to think about it. I really can bring lust into a country with me, as well as greed, arrogance, prejudice, and condescension.
Or, I can bring Christ.
Because of the ascension of Jesus and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, I can literally bring Christ into a country, if indeed Christ is real in me. Paul said, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…” (Gal. 2:20).
What a thought!
But let’s bring it home: Every time you enter a room, you bring something with you. If you allow your thoughts to roam into impure places, at that moment, you are both creating and bringing lust into your environment.
When you walk along a sidewalk, stroll through the marketplace, or gather at a church, what are you bringing with you: judgment, malice, or the Spirit of Christ?
When you walk into your house following a long day at work, do you bring selfishness, negativity, harshness, condemnation—or the meekness and gentleness of Christ?
When you go to church on Sunday, what marks your manner, more than anything else? Christ, or some spiritual failing? Do you bring encouragement or criticism, judgment or grace?
It was a stunning thought for me to realize that wherever I go, I can cast off splashes of glory or showers of sin. What do I want to leave behind?
In this instance, now walking toward the famous Mer Lion, it dawned on me what a force each one of us can be in this world. Our “private” battles have a very public effect, for what we cultivate in secret shapes the world we live in.
When we talk about Christ making a real difference with our hands and feet, we must come to grips with the fact that, by God’s decision, we are all forceful beings. We shape this world. We impact it. We mold it. In fact, it is impossible to walk on this earth and not make a difference of some kind.
May this difference be the presence of Christ rather than toxic sickness!
If you go to Whentowalkawaybook.com and click on the pre-order button, you’ll see the sign-up for your free download of Holy Available. I’ve already mentioned how valuable pre-orders are in the life of a book, so thank you to all who take that step.