Rotten Fish and You


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Bible Reading: Titus 1:15-16

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.   Titus 1:15, NIV

SUPPOSE THERE’S A big old stinking fish in your refrigerator that’s been in there for months.

You open the refrigerator and grab a carton of milk and slam the door fast to prevent the terrible smell from escaping. You pour the milk on your breakfast cereal and shovel a spoonful into your mouth. “Mmmph!” you say, spitting the food out. “Tastes like rotten fish!”

So you skip breakfast. But around noon you get really hungry, and you get some bread out. You reach into the refrigerator and quickly pull out some lunch meat. You put a couple of slices on the bread and lift it to your mouth. But before you take a bite, you smell your sandwich. “Ugh!” you say. “Smells like rotten fish!”

So you skip lunch. But by dinnertime that night, you’re starving. So you dash to the refrigerator, pull out the leftover pizza from three nights ago, pop it into the microwave, and nuke it for sixty seconds. You open the microwave to pull out the pizza. “Eew!” you say. “Now the microwave smells like rotten fish!”

So you stomp out of the kitchen, determined to issue an ultimatum to your parents: Either they get rid of that rotten fish in the fridge or you’re going to enlist in the marines—just to get some decent food!

But wait a minute! What’s the big deal? Why should a single fish spoil everything else? Well, if you’ve ever had a rotten fish in your refrigerator, you wouldn’t have to ask that question. Just one bad fish (or rotten egg, for that matter) can spoil everything else in the refrigerator.

The same thing is true with you. No, you don’t smell like rotten fish, but if your heart is impure, then just about everything you think about or talk about or experience is going to be affected. Your impure heart will make you suspicious of your friends’ motives. Your dirty mind will make everything seem dirty. Your corrupt imagination will take normal, healthy things and make them stink like a rotten fish.

On the other hand, if you’re pure inside, you’re going to enjoy life a lot more because you’ll look at life differently than someone who’s not pure. You won’t be suspicious of your friends’ motives. You won’t see filth everywhere you look. You’ll be able to enjoy and appreciate normal, healthy things, and they will become beautiful and pure—just like you.

REFLECT: Do you know anyone to whom “all things are pure”? Do you know anyone to whom “nothing is pure”? Which are you most like?

PRAY: Is there any impurity in your life? If so, spend a few moments in prayer, confessing that impurity to God, asking his forgiveness, and seeking his purity in place of your impurity.


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