August 13th

Finish Strong

“The LORD said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation."  Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit. In those days the LORD began to reduce the size of Israel. Hazael overpowered the Israelites throughout their territory  2 Kings 10:30-32 NIV

The story of Jehu had glimmers of hope for backslidden Israel. He made great strides in zeal for restoring the country to service to God, including eliminating Baal worship and carrying out God’s judgment on Ahab’s relatives (including Jezebel).  However, Jehu stopped short in his zeal and did not turn away from the sin of Jeroboam, which was golden calf worship.  As a result, Jehu’s promising start faded with a whimper as God gave portions of the country over to Hazael, king of Aram (Syria). 

This story has some useful applications to the struggle with sex addiction.  People who once walked closely with Jesus, but were later snagged by the world’s delicacies may find Jehu’s story all too familiar.  The devil works very hard to convince people to forfeit God’s good plan for their lives in exchange for the fleeting pleasure of sin.  If we start taking the bait of the devil’s counterfeits, our ability to walk free of the slavery to sin will be diminished.  By the time we eventually see the devil’s counterfeits for the lies that they are, we may have wasted years of our lives and missed many wonderful things that God had planned for us.  The “spiritual territory” in our lives that was God’s may have shrunk over the years, as we drifted deeper into sin. 

There are two points from this story that can help us ensure against falling away from the freedom that is ours in Christ. The first is to keep God’s law with all our heart.  The text states, “Jehu was not careful to keep the law…with all his heart.”  The second is to turn away from the sin in our past.”  The text states, “He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam.”     

These are simple yet challenging points.  Doing anything with all our heart is difficult to do, especially when there are temptations almost everywhere we turn.  Some people submit the majority of their lives to God, yet keep one area of rebellion alive to help them cope with the pain of the past or to spicen the apparent dullness of their life.  If we can muster the courage to ask God to help us turn the area(s) of rebellion over to his jurisdiction, we can expect that things will change.   

Through Christ, God gives us the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to keep God’s law with our whole heart and to turn away from our sin (Romans 8:11,13).  He also gives us literally new life in our veins that will transform us into new creations who live in freedom from sin.  With God in control, our old, dull life will take on new meaning and direction.  The former pleasures of sin will pale in comparison to the joys of knowing the living God. 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord God, thank you for the warning in the story of Jehu. I do not want to finish in defeat as Jehu did. I desire to live for you and keep my heart 100% under your jurisdiction and lordship.  I confess any areas of sin that I have allowed to continue in my heart right now: _______________ (specify).  I close the door to that sin once and for all.  Please forgive me for it and wash my conscience with the blood of Jesus.  Please fill me anew with your joy, love, peace and passion for holiness. Please help me to be careful to obey your word and vigilantly keep watch over my heart.  Thank you, Father!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”