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Monday, January 11, 2016

When Good Isn't Good Enough

Reading through the books of I and II Kings in the Bible can be very depressing.  It's not that the Scripture isn't interesting or that there isn't a lot of action taking place.  There's definitely a lot going on in those two books and much that we can learn from them.  But what gets me is how many times I come across the phrase, "And _________ did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord."  The kings of Israel.  The kings of Judah.  King after king after king.  I find myself thinking, "When will you learn?  God promised to bless you when you lived right and trusted in Him.  As long as you're not doing that, your country will be in turmoil."  Yet the list continues.

Occasionally, I come across something that brings a smile to my face and the word "Finally!" to my lips.  "And __________ did that which was right in the sight of the Lord."  It's about time!  But before I can enjoy the fact that one of those kings finally got their act together, the declaration continues:  "But the high places were not taken away:  the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places." (II Kings 12:3)  Seriously?  It's like the guy kind of got it right but then he stopped short of seeing that everything was as it should be.  And the result?  More trouble for the kingdom.  The people weren't worshiping and serving the true God.  They weren't keeping up their end of the conditional promise God made with them.  "If you do this, I'll do this.  Be faithful to me, and I'll keep you safe."

As I came across several instances of this half-hearted service to God, my mind conjured up the words to a familiar hymn:  I Surrender All.  Obviously, these kings were not surrendering all.  They were surrendering part--maybe even most--but not all.  If they had surrendered their all to God, then the high places would have been destroyed and the kings would have made it clear that only the one, true God was to be worshiped.  They were serving God. . .sort of.  That's not good enough.

How often are we guilty of the same thing?  Sure, we stand up in church and lift our voices to Heaven saying, "Yes, Lord, I surrender all," but do we really mean it?  Do our actions live up to our proclamations?  Usually, no.  Like the "good" kings of Israel and Judah, we surrender some--maybe even most--but seldom do we let go of everything and place it in God's hands.  We tend to hold back. Why?  I don't know, but my best guess would be either a lack of trust or a lack of true devotion.  And most of the time, I don't think we even realize we're doing it.  We think we've turned everything over to God, but as soon as tough situations arise, we find ourselves trying to "fix" things.  How can we fix it if it's in God's hands?  Because it's not in His hands; we only thought it was.

If you were to follow me around my house one day, you'd probably be convinced that I'm crazy beyond help.  Not because I talk to my dog (wow, that's strange typing "dog" instead of "dogs") or even because I occasionally talk to myself (who doesn't love a good conversation?).  But rather because I occasionally burst into song, and in my most Elsa-like fashion proclaim, "Let it go, let it go."  Why do I do that?  Because just before my little serenade, my thoughts had drifted somewhere they shouldn't be.  In the moments before I could catch myself, my mind and heart were trying to take control of something that I had already given to God.  So, when I do realize what I'm doing and where I'm heading, I remind myself and God and Satan and anyone else who's listening (sorry, Mitch) that I'm letting it go.

I want to surrender all, not part.  I want to give God everything I have, both the good and the bad.  I want my life to be completely in His hands.  I don't want those reading my story to see the phrase, "Dana did right in the sight of the Lord, but . . . "  No buts!  I want my all to be all.  How about you?

1 comment:

Ula Tinsley said...

Me too! I surrender all. No buts! So help me God