Smart Solomon: he gets the point of loving God.

Monday I started writing about what I’m learning from Solomon.  He and I see things a little differently.

Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple follows a little step by step progression.  Solomon begs God never to leave His people so that they will love Him so that they can obey Him so that everyone in the world will know that God is alive and worthy of worship.

According to our wise boy Solomon, God’s promise to stand by His people is good news because it leads to them loving God which leads to them obeying God.

When I read this I realized that Solomon and I see things a little differently.  If I had to write out a progression like that, mine would probably go: God’s promise to stand by His people is good news because it means He loves us, and understanding His love will lead me to not be so afraid of disobedience.

Hmm.

Solomon thinks the benefit of God’s love is that we get to obey.  

I think the benefit of God’s love is that I don’t feel bad about disobedience.   

You know what’s great about the God’s love?  It really does mean that I am forgiven when I fail.  And that really is great and beautiful news.

But it’s important that we remember, the great thing about the New Covenant – the great thing about Jesus coming and dying for us – is that it purchased for us the ability to obey.

I struggle with shame.

I know in my head that I am forgiven; that God has separated my sin as far as the East is from the West.  I know that the Gospel should set me free from shame, but there are ways to use the Gospel to set you free from shame that have nothing to do with trusting Jesus.

Trusting God to save me from shame is not the same as lowering the standard of Godliness so that we can come to terms with our own resumes.  If anything, Jesus seems to elevate the standard of Godliness to lead us to trade our resumes for His.

Somewhere along the line, I diminished the Gospel and began to tell myself that Jesus’ death meant my disobedience didn’t matter as much.

Reading Solomon’s prayer, I was faced with the reminder that the great beauty of the New Covenant – the great thing about Jesus coming and dying for us – is that it purchased for us the ability to obey.

So often we’re tempted to think of obedience as an Old Testament thing.  But check this out:

And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.  (Ezekiel 11:19-20 ESV)

God looks at His people and sees the problem of their disobedience, and proclaims His great plan.  He doesn’t say: you know what I need to do?  Just ignore disobedience.  Just overlook it.  Instead His solution to our disobedience issue is clear:

And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.  Ezekiel 36:27 ESV)

You know what’s different about us and the folks in the Old Covenant?  We get God – living inside of us – causing us to walk in His statutes.  Where they were unable to obey because of their faulty hearts – we are able because God is in us working it out.

Truth time: I don’t feel like I live differently.  Since becoming a Christian it honestly feels like I’m more disobedient.  I don’t know what to do with that.

But my perception doesn’t determine reality and I can’t approach scripture through my experiential grid, or I will always make God a slave to my mind.

This beautiful truth isn’t written to make us panic about our sin or failure.  It’s written so that we could hear Him speaking and gently calling us to have a different day than we might otherwise have had.  God’s Word cuts sharper than a two-edged sword.

This verse reminds us that, no matter how we feel, we are no longer slaves to sin.  God came and rescued us so that we can walk in newness of life.

One thought on “Smart Solomon: he gets the point of loving God.

  1. I feel the same way- that I’m more disobedient since becoming a Christian. But I think it’s because the Holy Spirit makes us much more sensitive to sin, rather than our behaviour getting worse.

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