Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 25, 2018
They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought. 2 Kings 17:33 (NIV)
So often, we think of life in binary terms. There are only two options, and we must choose one or the other. In some cases, such as my children’s food preferences, this is certainly true. “I love ice cream!” “I hate vegetables!” And yet, the older we get, the more and more complicated and nuanced life becomes.
As we grow, our allegiances and affections are not as clear-cut as they were when we were children, and instead we often find ourselves pulled in different directions, even making clearly incompatible life choices. We’ll go on a diet, have a healthy protein smoothie for breakfast, yet by lunch that commitment to health gives way to a greater desire for chocolate in all of its incredible forms.
While dietary decisions that are at odds with one another is relatively harmless, making the same mistake in our ultimate loves and allegiances can have eternal ramifications. In the Old Testament, we see people caught in the messy tension of divided loves. Rather than being full blown pagans or wholehearted and exclusively devoted to the Lord, in 2 Kings we see people who worship the Lord and yet also hold fast to their former gods. Though this is a world away from our current cultural reality, the human heart remains unchanged and we are more like these ancient people than we’d ever care to admit.
What are the former things that you loved and worshipped before coming to follow the Lord? Was it your career? Safety and security? Physical fitness? Beauty? Good schools for your kids? Each of us had a vision of the good life that animated and motivated our life decisions. And as we seek to follow the Lord and walk in his ways, so often these desires stand alongside our devotion to Christ as gods that demand our focus and attention.
Sure, many of them can be reimagined and redeployed as a part of your allegiance to Jesus, but they must never live at the same level of significance. Your Christian faith isn’t just a slice of the pie of life. It’s the whole thing! Jesus asks for nothing less than the whole of your life, not because he’s selfish, but because he’s selfless and he knows that giving himself to you is the greatest gift you could ever receive. The life of God is the only thing worthy of your love and devotion. Turn away from any lesser god and commit yourself afresh to a life of full allegiance to Christ.
Father, give us the strength and courage to follow you with all that we have, trusting in you alone as our hope and peace. Amen.
What are the lesser gods that still compete for your allegiance?
Our Christian faith isn’t just a slice of the pie of life. It’s the whole thing! #WisdomHunters #allegiance
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