A lady told me that years ago her husband tried to help her with the laundry. It sounded like a good and helpful idea until she saw him stuffing everything into the washing machine together without separating colors or clothing types. She quickly called his hand on it and stopped him, even though he still did not understand why everything could not go in together. (In case you are wondering, that man was not me–although I may have been guilty of such an act before!)
She raised the important point that he might have mixed the wash so that she would not ask him to wash clothes again–smart man!!
If we as Christians allow ourselves to become mixed with the world–with its sinful desires and ways–our lives will become much like a load of clothes of widely varying colors that were washed together. When this takes place, the clothes can lose their original beauty; they become flawed, contaminated, and shameful in appearance. In like manner, mixing our lives with the ways of the world takes away our Christ-like glow and leaves us less than beautiful spiritually and short of bringing honor to God.
When we examine Biblical accounts we find a number of instances in which the people of God tried to mix with the ways of the sinful world and came out spotty and spiritually ugly: Samson was a man of amazing strength, but by mixing himself with sin he became as weak as any man (Judges 16), King David was greatly blessed and used by God but he allowed the sin of lust that led to adultery to bring a huge snag to his life (II Samuel 11), King Solomon was a man of tremendous wisdom and authority, but he mixed himself with the ways of the world and behaved most foolishly (I Kings 11), and the nation of Israel, though chosen and favored by God, suffered horribly because she mixed the pure worship of God with the pollution of the worship of pagan idols (Jeremiah 2, 52).
If we allow ourselves to mix our affections and actions with ways that oppose the Word of God, we cannot expect any better outcome than Samson’s, David’s, Solomon’s or Israel’s. We can attempt to justify ourselves regarding the company we keep, the things we do and what we feed our minds, but if it runs contrary to God’s Word it will dull and destroy our witness for Christ.
So how do we keep ourselves from becoming contaminated by the sinful influence of the world? A big step in that direction is given to us by the apostle Paul in Colossians 3. There he instructs followers of Christ to put sinful ways to death, to rid themselves of ungodly attitudes and to clothe themselves with the nature of Christ. Those instructions are every bit as applicable to us today as they were to those to whom he wrote to 2000 years ago.
Washing clothes of dissimilar colors produces an unwanted and an unattractive outcome. Christians trying to mix their lifestyles with ways contrary to God’s Word find an even greater disappointment. May we all heed these words from Colossians 3:2: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (New International Version).