Tuesday, September 8, 2015
But It’s Not That Bad
Jeremiah 44:19 And the women said, “Indeed we will go on making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out libations to her; do you think that we made cakes for her, marked with her image, and poured out libations to her without our husbands’ being involved?”
Jeremiah’s prophetic words were troubling to the people because they were not prepared to change their behavior. Instead of heeding his advice, they became defiant and made excuses. Their defense lay in the fact that things hadn’t gotten that bad while they were worshipping other gods. At the same time God had been patient, giving them warning and opportunity to return to him, but his patience was now wearing thin.
Family members became complicit in their defiance toward God. The women in the household brazenly worshipped other gods and their husbands tacitly approved. The result was that entire families would suffer the consequences of this sin which was contaminated the very hearts of God’s people. Instead of helping one another in their spiritual journey toward God, their excuses were leading entire families toward destruction while blinded by the idea that it’s just not that bad.
I hear this same argument used today as people are convinced that life just isn’t that bad and they don’t seem to be suffering the consequences of not following God. Not concerned with the depth of their influence, they are willing to drive their entire family and those within their sphere of influence away from God.
It’s easy to imagine those who are far from God responding in this way, but what about those who claim to be Christ-Followers. The greatest danger is that we are convincing ourselves that we don’t have to be all that committed to following Christ because, with minimal effort, things aren’t that bad.
Attending church a couple times a month is enough.
Giving 2-3% to the Lord, rather than a tithe, is enough.
Reading the Bible while at church is enough.
Praying a few times a week is enough.
Giving to a charitable organization a couple times a year is enough.
Volunteering a few times a year is enough.
And these practices begin to infuse the next generation telling them that this level of commitment to the Lord and our spiritual lives is enough, because things just aren’t that bad.
At the same time God in his graciousness is reaching out to us, drawing us toward him. His desire is for a deeply personal relationship with his children, and so he waits. Sadly, the longer we wait to draw closer to him, the more we will eventually suffer the consequences of our own actions. It happened to the Israelites and it will happen to us.
It’s not that bad can become really bad — really fast.
Lord, thank you for your incredible transforming love. Please help me lean into you each and every single day. Amen.
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