Some people seem to think that if only they could move far enough away from the world, they could avoid most of its temptations. Though there’s some truth to that, and we should try to avoid temptation as much as possible (especially those temptations we find hardest to resist), our problems and weaknesses do tend to follow us wherever we go. The problem with sin isn’t so much what is out there, though that certainly plays a role, as much as it is what’s in us, and in our hearts. That’s where the true battle is, and we will have to fight that battle no matter where we live.
It is also an interesting phenomenon that solving some problems makes those that remain seem more obvious. For example, cleaning one area of a room makes any dirt nearby stand out even more. So also with the spiritual life:
the closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature.-Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 64.
Let’s not have Ellen G. White say here what she isn’t saying. She isn’t saying that the closer we get to Jesus the faultier we actually become. She continues:
The more our sense of need drives us to Him and to the word of God, the more exalted views we shall have of His character, and the more fully we shall reflect His image.–Steps to Christ, p. 65.
Real religion leads a person to
hunger and thirst for a deeper experience (Matt. 5:6). Jesus spent adequate time alone with His heavenly Father in order to know His will. Yet, He never shut Himself off from people. He went to where the people were. His
food was reaching out to the needy, breaking down barriers of prejudice, and sharing the good news of eternal life (John 4:28-35).
Despite the fact that Jesus and the earliest Christians had a diet and lifestyle quite different from the Gentile world around them, these practices never kept them from sharing their faith. They went everywhere, and the gospel spread throughout the empire and became firmly planted, even in centers of corruption and wickedness such as Rome.