Five Little Things That Can Really Throw You Off Track
When I was a teenage girl, I’d come bounding through the front door every day to see my Grandmother in the very same place; in her rocking chair by the front door with her favorite white cat in her lap, as she read her Bible. I watched her read her Bible my entire life. Every single year, she went through page-by-page, cover-to-cover. I finally asked her how she could possibly read it so many times, she must have had it all memorized by now. But, in her wisdom she said, “The Lord shows me something new every time I read it.” As a teen, I just thought rather than being in her rocker…maybe she was just a little off her rocker.
Grandma has been gone for many years now, but I have picked up her habit of reading the Bible all the way through in a year. I will admit, I don’t do it every year but I am taking the journey for the third time right now. And, my grandmother was right. Something big strikes me in a different way each time. This year, it is the story of Solomon. He was made King of Israel at a very young age. When God asked him what he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom to run his kingdom because he knew he was so young. God not only granted him great wisdom but he also granted him abundant riches because he didn’t ask for money. While Solomon was young, he was also very wise and very wealthy. And, he had an amazing connection with God. What could possibly spoil such a great thing? Women. Solomon had a weakness for women. The Lord warned him against marrying women who came from areas that worshiped false gods. But Solomon didn’t listen, he wound up with 700 wives and 300 concubines…a bit of a problem since many of them were worshiping false gods and were able to sway Solomon to do so too, causing him to lose favor with God.
What seemed like unshakable faith was destroyed by one area of weakness. II Samuel 11:1-4 says, King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
If Solomon a great, wise and rich King who had God in the center of his life could be so easily distracted…how easy is it for us to get swept away by the things we choose to dabble with? We may not even know that our daily routines may be shaking our “unshakable” faith to the core. It happens little by little as our foundation gets eaten away and we put ourselves in danger of experiencing our faith waver or worse…crumble. I’d like to share 5 simple little things that can lead to life altering change.
1. Too much TV. The old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” I am amazed at the amount of mindless television programs out there to watch. Like a train wreck we can’t turn away from we view “reality” TV and people literally making a complete mess out of their lives by making unwise decisions. Or television programming that goes completely against our beliefs and values disguised as comedy. We may think we can’t be swayed but it can happen without our even knowing it. I’ll bet when Solomon asked God for wisdom, he didn’t envision himself worshipping false gods.
2. Too much social media. Are you beginning and ending your day with thoughts of what God has in store for you? Or are you beginning and ending your day by checking your Facebook page? I find it fascinating that Solomon says in Proverbs 18:24, “A man with many friends comes to ruin.” We get so wrapped up in the lives of people we really don’t interact with in the real world to the point of neglecting those closest to us. We neglect the one friend we truly need, Jesus.
3. Too much alcohol. For some, years of social drinking can turn into problem drinking very quickly. It isn’t a problem for everyone but if you wonder if you are drinking too much, you probably are. If you feel the need to hide how much you drink from certain groups of people you socialize with you might be headed down a dangerous path. If you are not accomplishing all you could be because you are stopping to “relax” with a few drinks, think about what you could accomplish without it.
4. Too much conversation. For couples, chatting too much with someone of the opposite sex can easily become a distraction and ultimately cause damage in your marriage. This is especially easy to do with the ease of communication through social media, email and text. What can start out as a simple friendship can turn into something you didn’t plan on when things at home don’t seem so great.
5. Not enough time with God. Neglecting time with God through reading his word and conversation (prayer) is an easy way to let these seemingly harmless things take over our lives and forget what is the most important. I doubt Solomon was consulting God before he went off with his wild women to worship some other gods. It’s a slow progression, most people don’t come tumbling down in a day.
Too much of anything and not enough of God makes for faith that can easily be shaken. Even the wisest people with the strongest faith can fall. I never saw my grandmother waiver, not even once. But, I also never saw her quit reading her Bible, praying, or attending church. Not even once. I don’t know if I can ever reach the level of relationship with and faith in God that my grandmother had, but I do know that the path to get there is to follow in her footsteps. I want to have an unshakable faith…to do that I need to be acutely aware of what my false gods may be.