We cannot fully embrace living for Jesus until we give Jesus our lives. Living for Jesus starts with being transformed by Jesus through faith. What areas of your life is the Spirit speaking to you about, which you can surrender and fully turn over your life to God today?
25 When they first lived there, they did not worship the Lord; so he sent lions among them and they killed some of the people.
27 Then the king of Assyria gave this order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” 28 So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the Lord.
33 They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.
40 They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.
2Kings 17:25, 27-28, 33, 40-41
When Israel was exiled out of their land as discipline from God, the king of Assyria resettled other nations into their land. They didn’t worship the Lord of that land, however, because they came from elsewhere and brought their religion with them. The Lord, however, was displeased with foreign worship in the land of his own people, Israel. Even though Israel was gone, God had prepared and consecrated the land for his people to worship him and live with God in harmony.
The result was that he sent lions into the land and some people lost their lives. This prompted the sending of a Hebrew priest from exile back to the land to teach people how to worship the Lord.
Here’s the problem. Even though they were taught a new way of worship, and the priest helped them to understand who this God is who owned this land, they never gave up their old ways. They mixed their practices with worship of the Lord.
This is a classic new-wine-into-old-wineskins tale. The idea that we can adopt practices of following Jesus into our lives and intermingle allegiance to Christ with our former lives is not in keeping with the teaching of God. Jesus speaks of not serving two masters: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other,” (Matthew 6:24).
We cannot fully embrace living for Jesus until we give Jesus our life.
James puts it in strong terms: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?” (James 4:4-5).
God is jealous for us and for his Spirit within us. Living for Jesus starts with being transformed by Jesus through faith. And then we can’t think that maintaining or rekindling our friendship with the world is workable. It isn’t.
What areas of your life is the Spirit speaking to you about which you can surrender and fully turn over your life to God today?