For it came about that when Solomon was old, his heart was turned away to other gods by his wives; and his heart was no longer true to the Lord his God as the heart of his father David had been. 1 Kings 11:4
I sometimes think with all of our theological training and reading and thinking about what the Bible might be saying to us, that we make things way more complicated than God intended them to be. All the study and parsing is nice, good and helpful, but maybe the message of God is so much simpler. It goes something like this:
If your focus is on God and not yourself you will be fine; but,
If your focus on yourself and not God all heck is going to break loose
Please don’t hear in this some weird, unbiblical prosperity gospel — that if you are faithful to God he will make you rich (or healthy or married). That transactional folly is found nowhere in the pages of the Bible. Instead hear the lesson and illustration seen repeated from page to page of scripture and then past scripture to the present day — cautionary tale after cautionary tale about people who wanted to rely on God, begin to rely upon themselves and not God, and then seem surprised when the train of their life goes off the tracks.
The message of the Christian faith can be summed up as: “Live your life in tune with God and your life will have the fullness God intended (and you will be able to persevere even if your health, finances or relationships fall apart).” That is not a sexy message. That is not the message we want to hear in 2015 (or 2015 BC). Instead, we want assurances that Jesus will make our marriage better, our bank account fuller, our friends more reliable, our world safer our path more predictable for us and especially for our children.
The thing is, however, that God does not promise you a safe life. He promises you a life that will matter. God does not promise to make your health, marriage, money, and friends better. He promises to make you better. Transformed into his image, more reflective of your designer so that you can live your actual life as his disciple, his apprentice, his cooperative friend. Your actual life, including your health uncertainty, marriage challenges, money meanderings and friends fickleness, in a way reflect your maker and his hope.
Solomon, the son of David, started out so well. When asked by God what he wanted, he wisely answered “wisdom.” Yet as wealth flooded into his life, his wisdom became uncoupled from obedience and his day to day practices. He compromised, and then he compromised again and again until his life bore no reflection to the life God intended for him. The Bible says his fall “came about,” but I think that is simply a poetic way of describing his downfall. Nothing just “comes about.” A life of disobedience to God does not just “come about.”
God calls us to himself and promises that in him we will be the person(s) he created us to be so the world will be blessed through us. In order to grab hold and enter into that promise we must be intentional, day to day, week to week, even moment by moment. As the apostle Paul said it well, “our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak.” Things get away from us if we are not intentional.
Where are you today in your desire to ground your story in God’s story?
What are you doing to continue in and deepen that grounding?
Who is with you on this journey holding you accountable and sharing your walk?
Take stock, move deeper, don’t go alone.
If you incorporate these three in your regular rhythm, no one will be able to say at the end of your life “and it came about that . . .”
Peace, hope and love