1 Kings 11:4-13
When Solomon grew old his wives swayed his heart to other gods; and his heart was not wholly with the Lord his God as his father David’s had been. Solomon became a follower of Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians, and of Milcom, the Ammonite abomination. He did what was displeasing to the Lord, and was not a wholehearted follower of the Lord, as his father David had been. Then it was that Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the god of Moab on the mountain to the east of Jerusalem, and to Milcom the god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrifice to their gods.
The Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from the Lord the God of Israel who had twice appeared to him and who had then forbidden him to follow other gods; but he did not carry out the Lord’s order. The Lord therefore said to Solomon, ‘Since you behave like this and do not keep my covenant or the laws I laid down for you, I will most surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. For your father David’s sake, however, I will not do this during your lifetime, but will tear it out of your son’s hands. Even so, I will not tear the whole kingdom from him. For the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen, I will leave your son one tribe.’
Jesus left Gennesaret and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not pass unrecognised. A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him straightaway and came and fell at his feet. Now the woman was a pagan, by birth a Syrophoenician, and she begged him to cast the devil out of her daughter. And he said to her, ‘The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ But she spoke up: ‘Ah yes, sir,’ she replied ‘but the house-dogs under the table can eat the children’s scraps.’ And he said to her, ‘For saying this, you may go home happy: the devil has gone out of your daughter.’ So she went off to her home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone.
…and did not fully follow the Lord.
If you’re 99% in, you’re 100% out.
It is so easy to love thy neighbor, when your neighbor is good, kind and loving.
It is so easy to honor your parents, when your parents are good, kind and loving.
It is so easy to keep the Sabbath day holy, when you’re not behind in work, when your kids don’t have sports events, when you’re not overly exhausted, etc.
It is so easy to follow the Lord… some of the time.
It is so easy to justify why our circumstances allow us to follow ‘mostly’, and not fully.
We live in a world so filled with pleasure, so filled with constant voices telling us ‘only do what makes you happy’, that it has become more and more difficult to FULLY follow the Lord. We see so few people, even people in church every week, FULLY following the Lord. Monogamous couples committed to each other under the same roof without the sacrament of marriage. Christians who practice deceit in their business dealings, because it’s business and everyone is doing it. Christians who have left the physical church, for a plethora of reasons, claiming to be spiritual but not religious (believing that the institution of religion is the enemy). Good Christians who truly believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding them to be their own priest and pope. Good Christians following who they have ‘made’ God to be to fit their needs, desires and circumstances and, ignorantly not fully following the Lord.
It seems we have allowed the world to live in us (because we are so smart, and after all, it is the 21st century) and, in doing so, have left little room for God. And therein lies our downfall. Our downfall of our own making, and all the while the enemy is dancing with glee.
I once heard this concept described as FAITH being a glove and people accepting the glove but only putting the glove on 2 or 3 fingers. Therefore the glove doesn’t work. As I shared yesterday, when we choose not to trust in God, we sin. We take things into our own hands, we self-medicate, whether it be with alcohol, drugs, sex, food, lack of food, hobbies, working, any number of things/activities. We take good things and turn them into idols. King Solomon, wise as he was, did this, and once he started to pull away from the Lord, he fell into a cycle of sin. It’s the most common story of humanity.
When we commit to fully follow the Lord, and repent when we fail (because we will) instead of making excuses that take us further from God, we live in joy. His grace is sufficient. We will still suffer at times, sometimes extreme suffering; but, when we trust fully in Him, we fully follow Him, and we experience a joy that surpasses all understanding.
(Today’s Oxygen by Gina Ulicny)
Prayer: Father God, we desire to fully follow you. We know that only in walking with you fully will we experience peace. We know that you have the answers we seek because YOU are the answer we seek.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for fully loving us, even when we are full of ourselves and are turning away from you. Thank you for never turning from us.