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"Loved the Lord, but..."
- Jacob Ninan
It is written about Solomon that he loved the Lord but still worshipped in the high places (1Ki.3:3). Asa's heart was wholly devoted to the Lord but he didn't take away the high places (1Ki.22:43). These 'high places' were where the people of the land had their pagan worship and related activities. Many times Israel joined them in their idolatry, but some people who did not want to be pagan made idols (e.g., golden calves) to represent the true God of Israel(!) without realising how God could not be represented in any form and how any form of idolatry was abominable to Him.
God's desire for all of us is that we should love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and might (Mk.12:30) and live out from that love. It takes honesty to look at ourselves and see how it is really in our daily life. Our issues may not about high places as in the Old Testament. But are there things in our life that are displeasing to God?
The most serious thing is if there are such things in our life, we know it, but we aren't doing anything to get rid of them. Then it can't even be said that we love God with all our heart. But there may be things in our life which are displeasing to God but we are ignorant about them. Another thing could be that we know others who are doing things that are grievous to God, we have power to change them, and we choose to tolerate them. Parents in a home come under this category.
We need to be sincere in asking God like the psalmist, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way" (Ps.139:23,24). It is not essentially about things that would hurt us, but mainly about those that would hurt Him. It would only show our ignorance about our human nature if we straightaway conclude that everything is just fine with us. But a spiritual man (and a man who wants to become spiritual) will want his external behaviour and (more so) what goes on inside his heart to be always pleasing to the Lord (Ps.19:14).
The process of sanctification depends very much on our first becoming aware of how unlike we are like God, and then letting Him transform us into His image. This means looking at Him through His word, and letting it judge us.
Some people stay away from this exercise fearing condemnation when they become aware of failures or shortcomings. Trying to remain 'blissfully ignorant' is a sure way to impede spiritual growth! But once we know that God has accepted us knowing everything about us, not only about our past but also all our life (Ps.139:16), and not because we were acceptable but because of His grace, we can stop being uncertain about God's acceptance. Our focus can then change to pleasing Him more and more out of our love and gratitude towards Him for what He has done for us and what He means to us.