Thursday, June 11, 2015

Destroy the Idols and Fortify The Walls: Taking stock of our lives

I have been following a reading plan for reading through the Bible in a year in chronological order. It's been awesome and tedious and challenging. 

Today, a passage of scripture hit me so hard, I interrupted myself to write about it. 

Read in 2 Chronicles 14 about King Asa. Solomon is dead, his son Jeroboam had been defeated in battle for not heeding the wise advice of the elders, Judah was victorious as the Lord delivered them from King Jeroboam and thusly, Abijah was placed on the throne, and then his son Asa succeeded Abijah. 

Here's where it gets really good... 

Asa set to work destroying the foreign altars that had been built by the kings preceding him. He tore down the high places, smashed the sacred stones, and cut down the Asherah poles. These were all altars dedicated to false gods and where sacrifices were offered to them. 

Asa didn't stop there, however...

He then built up the fortified cities of Judah. He built large walls and added towers and gates. These verses spoke volumes to my heart:

"'Let us build up these towns,' he said to Judah, 'and put walls around them, with towers, gates, and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side.' So they built and prospered."
And I thought...this could be applied to our minds as well. What if...

What if we tore down our idols and removed anything that isn't glorifying to God?

What if we destroyed all things in our life that didn't honor the Lord?

This could be music we listen to, movies and television shows we watch, books we read, friends we keep, relationships we invest in, philosophies we adhere to, schools of thought we entertain, people we allow to speak into our lives, clothing we wear, things we buy, pursuits we chase after...anything that we put above God and anything that is not glorifying to Him.

And then...after we've torn down our "high places" and destroyed our idols, what if we intentionally fortified what we still have and add to it with what is of God?

What if we built walls (or drew boundaries) around what is Holy? What if we protected with everything we have, the landscape that is from God?

What if we immersed ourselves in His Word and paid honor to Him through our words, thoughts, and actions? What if we focused our energy and talents onto Him and His pursuits? What if we protected ourselves and held sacred that which is of Him? And that which He places before us?

I believe that like in Asa's time in 2 Chronicles 14, we will build and prosper.

"Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain." Psalm 127:1
This doesn't mean to start hacking away at everything. But it does mean to take careful inventory of what we are allowing inside our minds and into our lives. It means weighing it against the Scripture to see what is glorifying and pleasing  to God.

And the hard part is cutting out and destroying what shouldn't be there.

When we invite the Lord in on this task, He will reveal to us what needs to go and what should stay. Judah was victorious in the battle because they sought the Lord and did what was good and right in His eyes (verse 2). It wasn't until after the idols were destroyed that they were able to build up the walls that protected them and gave them peace.

I'm asking myself what idols need to go in my life. Some are more obvious than others. Some sneakily hide behind things that are deemed as "good" but may not be of God.

This will look different for everyone. It's a private conversation that needs to take place between yourself and the Lord. And it may not be a one-time thing. This may be a process that we have to keep repeating throughout our lives as we seek Him and get to know Him better.

The Lord is faithful. If we are earnestly seeking Him,we will find Him.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)

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