"I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars. Yet you have disobeyed me." Judges 2:1b-2a NIV
When God brought the Israelite people to the promised land, He told them to take the land and destroy the idols of those who live there. But they disobeyed. They allowed many of the Canaanites to remain there and over time, their way of life and their idol worship seeped into the lives of the Canaanites. The poison will always try to take over the healthy tissue and that is exactly what happened to the body of Israelites. By not obeying God's commands, they had allowed the evil He had commanded them to get rid of to become a part of their culture.
How often does God tell us to remove something from our lives and we don't do it? Maybe it's a bad habit; maybe it is spending time with someone who is a bad influence on us. Sometimes even innocuous activities can become an obstacle. We can allow watching or playing sports or participating in a hobby to become our obsession and distract us from where God wants us to focus. If He says to remove that habit, activity, or even thought process from our lives, we need to be obedient to that. We may feel like what we are doing is innocent and think that surely God would not ask me to give that up, but He does.
I am fascinated with the Amish. They are completely committed to simplicity, plainness, and devotion to God. They are huge on family and their community in helping one another daily. They live off the land and the distractions of the modern world are forbidden from their lives. Now one area they lack is being evangelistic about their love of God. They have completely isolated themselves from living out Matthew 28:19-20. However, we, in the world, have gone completely the other direction. How much have we allowed the world to infiltrate our lives and water-down the gospel? Have we compromised our testimony to the point of impotency? Do we "look" any different from the non-believers we live among and are supposed to be sharing Christ with?
Surely there is a happy middle ground between isolationism and compromise. Finding how to live "in the world and not of it" is a daily battle we must wage. This can only be accomplished through a constant communion with the Father and obedience to His directives. If he says something must be removed, then we need to remove it. If he says we are to go, then we need to go. God loves us and wants His very best for us. Therefore, if He says it, He means it. Our job is to obey. (Tomorrow, part 2, the consequences of disobedience.)
- Is there some area of your life that you have allowed the world to infiltrate and God is telling you to get rid of it?
- What obstacles stand in the way of obedience? How do we overcome them?
- Do you truly believe God's motivation for his commands in our lives is because He loves us or is He just an Almighty Tyrant? (Honestly think through this answer.)