Thursday, May 17, 2018

Worshiping Like Womanizers

My wife used to watch a show called Gilmore Girls, which I think I've mentioned once or twice. When Rory, one of the main characters, went to college she met a boy named Logan who was something of a womanizer. He dated a different girl every night of the week and had a little black book the size of the encyclopedia (That may be a slight exaggeration. Maybe). He and Rory started dating (as one of his many girlfriends) because she thought she would be ok with a casual relationship. When she realized she wasn't ok just being one of many, she went to Logan to let him know she was done. But somewhere along the way Logan had fallen in love with Rory and, instead of accepting her ending of the casual relationship, Logan committed to Rory. Logan stopped seeing other girls cold turkey and was committed to Rory alone because he would rather date only her than have dozens of girls all the time without Rory. Being in love with Rory caused Logan to change his entire lifestyle.

In 2 Chronicles 30, where King Hezekiah re-instituted the Passover Feast after a decades long (if not longer) lapse, we saw God extend mercy and overlook the technicalities of purification rules and we saw the people respond by choosing to put their lives on hold and spend an extra seven days in worship. But their renewed devotion to God in response to God's mercy, didn't stop with more worship time. When the festival was done, the people who had celebrated went out and began to remove all of the altars  that were set up outside of the temple which violated the laws for worship. Then, they went even further and "broke up the sacred pillars, chopped down the Asherah poles, and tore down the high places and altars throughout Judah and Benjamin, as well as in Ephraim and Manasseh, to the last one" (2 Chronicles 31:1, NIV). Once they were finished getting rid of the false altars dedicated to God, they then went out and removed all of the places where idols were worshiped in the land.

Now, these idols and the places where they were worshiped were big business. Lots of money was made off of these idols. Some of them made their living by acting as priests in these high places. Having these places around made a convenient excuse for not going to the Temple to worship as the law of Moses required. But the people removed them all because their renewed devotion to God spurred them to take action to purify their lives from sin and to begin living in a way that pleased God. You see, loving someone affects the way you live your life. Logan's love for Rory caused him to give up all the other girls who might have gotten in the way, and the people of Judah and Israel loved God in such a way that they removed any of the other objects of worship that might have gotten in the way.

We can claim we love God all we want. But when we continue to allow things in our lives that get in the way of that love, we don't have much credibility. When you love someone, it affects the way you live, it affects the choices you make and the things you allow in your life.  Far too often, though, we allow things in our lives that get in the way of our love for God, things that distract us from God or that push us out of God's will. But if we really love God like we say we do, that love will affect the way we live and the things we allow in our lives.

Is there something in your life that you just can't seem to let go of, even though it interferes with your relationship with God? If you really want to love God, it might be time to get rid of it.

Changing the Future with a Deep Breath

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