Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Whole or Half?

It was a long time, twenty years in all, that the ark remained at Kiriath Jearim, and all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the LORD. 3 And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, "If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines." 4 So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only. (1 Samuel 7:2-4)

Are you (and am I) following whole-heartedly, or half-heartedly?  I find that it's all to easy to fool ourselves into thinking we're "X" when in actuality we're "I."  For example;
- one says that they strive for health, yet they eat poorly and never exercise
- one says they believe in balanced finances, yet they have no budget and rack up debt
- one says they live for Christ, yet find themselves consumed with the cares and worries of the world.
There's a gap between our beliefs and our actions.  Someone once said "I will show you what you believe by looking at what you do."

This sounds harsh - it is not meant to.  The goal is not to guilt any of us into "doing" anything but instead to look at the "line in the sand" and see where we fall.  Take that passage of Scripture; the Israelites have been experiencing "discipline" at the hand of the Philistines.  The Philistines at one point capture the ark of God and rout the Israelites, killing over 30,000 of them at one point.  Well having the ark doesn't go so well for the Philistines and so they return it to Israel, which prompts Israel to mourn and seek God.

The next couple of verses are the critical pieces - God, through Samuel, wants to test the level of repentance.  Is it lip service, or are they serious?  In other words, the challenge is laid down - "if you're seriously repenting, then 'for crying out loud,' get rid of all the other 'gods' you have and are worshipping, commit whole-heartedly to God, and He will deliver you."  You see the Israelites had their hand in two places; they were returning to God and seeking Him, but they were also clinging to other 'gods.' They wanted it both ways.

This got me to thinking - what 'gods' do I worship?  Am I, have I truly forsaken EVERYTHING and committed to follow Christ whole-heartedly?  Am I also guilty of "seeking God" yet clinging to other 'gods?'  What exactly did Jesus mean when He said, "
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."? (Luke 9:23-24)

God is love and His grace is un-ending.  Anyone who calls on the name of Christ and believes in Him will be saved.  However, His call is high - He is a jealous God, and is not willing to share us with anyone or anything.  He does give us His Spirit to "guide us into all truth."  However, we do have the ability to "quench the Spirit" and in effect, choose to go our own way.  It all boils down to this; Is there anything keeping you from whole-heartedly following Him?  Today?

1 comment:

♥ cherelle said...

This post was just for me.

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