It seems that every day I go to Apple or Amazon’s bookstores, there is a new self-help book making it’s way up the charts. Inundated by information to help us live happier lives, we are drowning in our own dizzying pursuit of things we really don’t want to change.
I would be pretty embarrassed if I told you all of the different pursuits I have made up in my mind to conquer during the last 10 years of my life. Embarrassed because I have only followed through on a couple, and even those somewhat half-hearted. I know that there are many people more driven than I, but we all fall into this trap of calculated indifference (justified laziness) when it comes to giving up habits or indulgences to which we have become addicted.
In the book of 1 Kings we are introduced to a succession of kings from the divided nation of Israel; both the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. For the most part, the bible describes the kings of Israel as wicked while the kings of Judah are given a mixed review. The thing that has stood out to me during my last read through this book is a common description of many of the “righteous” kings of Judah which goes something like this: “And he walked in the ways of his father and did not turn aside from doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.”
This got me thinking about my own life and the fight that we all have in general as we begin or even continue to serve the Lord. I know that I am saved by the blood of His sinless sacrifice and that during the course of my walk with God I have seen many victories, but there is also no doubt that there remains many “high places” scattered throughout my “kingdom”.
High places are those things that are tougher to root out. They are those allowances and concessions that might not earn me the disfavour of God, but they certainly take away from the purity and description of what is possible for my life.
In a generation that comforts itself with invented diagnosis to assuage the guilt of “high places” and destructive tendencies, we must be careful not to allow our consciences to become seared. When I stop sensing the need for greater commitment to God, it is absolutely imperative that I shake myself by whatever means possible; for this peace does not mean I have arrived, but only that I have learned to accept as inevitable the things in my life that are displeasing to Him.