Thursday, October 30, 2008
Current Study: People Who Made a Difference
Today’s Topic: Choices Prove Love
What do you love more than God? From the average Christian there would be a popular response – “Nothing.” It would be a lie. If it was so easy to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength, then God wouldn’t have made His first command to us to “have no other gods before Him.” We live in a country that calls itself Christian yet denies the very values that prove an acknowledgement of God, let alone a love for Him. Our choices and our actions tend to be determined by our own preferences and plans rather than the purpose of God. If given the choice between surrendering to the control of God or sacrificing God’s standards for the sake of self, we are too easily drawn to choose the latter. It is far too convenient in our culture to pursue the gratification of the immediate at the expense of God’s holiness. And every time we choose self-fulfillment, self-gratification, or secular prosperity over the moral truths of Jesus Christ, we deny that God is who we say we believe He is.
Granted, it’s not easy to submit to the Sovereignty of God, but it is essential. In the short-term, we may be unpopular. Our reasoning may be ridiculed. We may be persecuted for our position. We may be labeled as lunatics. Stand strong – you are in good company with your Lord. Nothing is more important for the true follower of Jesus than to uphold the right of God to reign supreme.
I challenge you to go through the story of Eli and his sons in 1 Samuel 2. You will discover that Eli, the chosen priest of God, had two sons that treated with contempt the sacrificial system God had ordained for that day. Rather than uphold God’s holiness, Eli chose to favor his sons and not correct their actions. As a result, God declared through a prophet that Eli’s family would be removed from their ministry, and that there would be a physical curse placed on all of them and their descendants that they would never live to be considered old of age. They would all die in the prime of their lives. In addition, Eli’s two sons would be killed on the same day, an event God called a sign that His justice would be enforced. The prophet who was given this message told Eli directly what God had said.
Now, in Chapter three, Samuel hears from the Lord for the first time, and God tests his commitment. He told him personally the same things the prophet had told Eli. When Eli asked Samuel what the Lord had said, Samuel was scared to tell him. But he knew he must tell the truth. He confirms the message of the prophet to Eli. Imagine what Eli must be thinking. As a result of the sin of his sons, and his choice to honor his sons over God, there would be ramifications and consequences placed upon his entire family tree from that day forward. I’m sure he struggled with the temptation to rebel against God, as we all would. He probably thought about complaining to God. He probably wondered I throwing a fit would help. He certainly struggled with the choice to turn to his own abilities to provide for himself and pursue alternate possibilities. But what does he say? It’s pretty revealing about his heart, isn’t it? It’s pretty revealing about our hearts, too, if we couldn’t say it. He said, “He is the LORD; let him do what is good in his eyes.”
My friends, every day we are confronted with choices that test the true love of our heart. Every day we have the right to choose to surrender to the Sovereignty of God and His holiness or to pursue the pleasures and prosperity of this world. Every day we demonstrate what we really love by building up treasures for ourselves on this earth or in eternity. Every day we testify to whom we really love when we strive for the security of self or we serve the Savior. Even when it meant personal loss – great loss – Eli acknowledged the sovereignty and holiness of God. I wonder how we would respond in the same situation?
In five days our love for God will be tested. Are we willing to suffer loss for the sake of serving the Lord? Are we willing to stand on the holiness of God and the sanctity of life or will we pursue the security of self? Is there any issue for which we should deny our love for God? Is there any loss – financial or physical – that demands that we sacrifice the spiritual? Do we really believe that what we believe about God is really real? I pray that our choices every day, not just on election day, reveal that we love God more than we love self.