1 Kings 11:4
“When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the LORD his God, as his father had been. 6 Solomon did evil in the LORD’s sight; he did not remain loyal to the LORD, like his father David had. 9 The LORD was angry with Solomon because he had shifted his allegiance away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him on two occasions 10 and had warned him about this very thing, so that he would not follow other gods. But he did not obey the LORD’s command.”
This passage should humble us all – the wisest man that ever lived turned away from the LORD. Should not his wisdom have guided him to avoid wicked influences? Compromise is subtle – we often do not notice or perceive that a slight alteration is chipping away at our integrity and commitment to God. It is not enough to simply have moral ideals – the life in Christ must be a loyalty which makes us shudder at the thought of indulging the flesh with something that would pull us away from our God. But unfortunately, we cave in to “minor” influences. PG-13 movies that have “some” curse words, which we trivialize because we can “handle” them. The problem is that the slope is headed downward – not up. Decisions are made one by one, but add up to an avalanche over time.
We need to be vigilant with every influence in our lives. There are many sources which influence us – media in multiple forms – including television, internet, social media and e-mail; and peer groups, which include people in many different environments; friends, family, peers at work, and at church (oh yes, there, too!). Vigilance does not mean shunning, but rather setting clear boundaries that you abide by. Sometimes folks around us can resent our boundaries, citing them as legalism, but it becomes sin to us if we violate our own consciences to appease those around us. While it is uncomfortable to maintain your convictions, consider it a test – do you really believe in what you claim you do? A little persecution presented by peers snubbing or labeling us is a pretty mild test.
Fame and riches were part of Solomon’s downfall. Perhaps he thought he was invincible or that the wisdom he had enabled him to handle all of those temptations. Not so. Bad judgment call. We will all be tempted, for sure. We will have our decisions to make, one by one. Stay sober – do not allow yourself to go under the influence. Stay in the Word of God and be alert. Remember that we do not ever “deserve” to sin, or to choose to violate God’s commands out of comfort or pleasing others. The price He paid was too high for that casual, liberal application of the costly grace given to us.
Hold fast to the convictions God revealed to you. Don’t allow people to define for you what your standards should be. Hold fast. The visual of an anchor helps me in this regard. It is unmovable, fixated where it needs to be and though it is so small, it is capable of holding in place large vessels. Small decisions matter. Guarding ourselves from negative influences in our lives is essential, but we cannot stop there. Instead, we must be the bold, positive influence that the world needs – not in a harsh, judgmental way, but in a godly confidence that helps sheep around you see that they, too, can exert their power to choose to protect and guard righteousness in their lives.
God, wake us up and help us to be faithful. We need You to keep us grounded in Your word, walking blamelessly before you!