Thursday, January 20

Cross Connection Control and Backflow Prevention

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? --Galatians 5:7

Over the summer I learned a little bit about public drinking water systems and different methods and equipment necessary to prevent contamination problems. Maybe it's because my grandpa was a plumber, or maybe it's because I believe that spiritual analogy can be derived from even the most unlikely circumstances, but today's Bible verse got me thinking about the similarities between our resposibilities as Christians, and the importance of maintaining a clean supply of drinking water.

Cross connection control and backflow prevention refers to designing a plumbing system carrying water in a particular direction such that the water quality will not be compromised even when the pipes are connected to another system carrying water for a different purpose. Certain valves in the system act like a traffic stoplight at an intersection. Flow is allowed to continue in one direction, while flow from another direction is prevented. Technicians for drinking water systems must undergo a great deal of training and be certified so that they can properly manage and maintain the cross connection controls and successfully prevent backflow.

Within the Christian community, some people are analogous to the certified backflow prevention technicians. God's word is part of the living water that flows through the church. His word is truth and is to be obeyed. Pastors, as well as other church leaders, are responsible for overseeing the continued flow of God's word to his people. Pastors, in particular those who attend seminary, are certified to analyze the quality of the information that flows to individuals. They are responsible for ensuring that anything taught to their congregations is doctrinally sound and adheres to the belief that the word of God is true.

When Christians are out in the regular world, we must take God's truth with us so that we can be obedient to God's commandments. Daily we run the risk of contaminating our living water unless we are properly outfitted with cross connection controls and backflow prevention valves. As we find ourselves in situations where the direction of the flow from outside influence runs in a direction contrary to the flow of a Christian lifestyle, we need to be able to close the valves! This is necessary to reduce our susceptibility to the wrong type of influence. For example, if you are constantly around people who believe that academic dishonesty is no big deal, then you may eventually find yourself allowing that same thought to creep into your spiritual water supply. God's word clearly says that it is wrong to "bear false witness". A contaminated sense of right and wrong my dull your conscience. That makes it difficult for you to believe that cheating is a form of lying, and as a result, you act in a manner that is disobedient.

I think the best way to establish cross connection controls in our spiritual lives is to look at the cross. The living water that flows from Christ is the only pure influence we have. Only Christ was blameless and perfect. The better we get at living a life that is Christ-led, the more we develop a Christ-like mindset, and the more time we spend in the company of other Christians, the better we will become at reducing the flow from harmful, wordly influence that could contaminate God's truth. It is important that we continue to run a good race and prevent any attempts to cut in and keep us from living a life obedient to God.

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