June 17

1 Kings 11:4 (NIV) 4As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.

Solomon started with a heart after God. He had learned from his father, David, that God was worthy of all our praise. The blessing of God was upon Solomon, and he was probably the wisest and wealthiest king to ever live. But in prosperity, there is great danger. He had a weakness for women. He married women from the countries that the Lord had forbidden the Israelites to marry. God had warned in the Law that if there should be a king over Israel, he was not to multiply to himself many wives. God warned that wives of other nations would turn his heart from the true God.

There are a number of warnings for us in this sad account of the demise of Solomon. The first is to pay attention to the word of God. We may think our abilities or gifts make us exempt from some passage or direction. We may justify our sin in any number of ways, but we will suffer for disobedience. The warnings in the Word are for our own good.

Choose your mate carefully. Your mate will, over time, affect your relationship with God. You may think you can win them, or that you will not be affected, but two do become one. There has to be influence. If you are already in a marriage with an unbeliever, pray! Pray for strength to stand firm in your faith. Pray for opportunities to help turn your mate's heart. Look for the leading of the Holy Spirit to share God's love for them.

We see in this passage that God is after a fully devoted heart, not a heart of compromise. In our old age, when we are slowing down from everything, we are tempted to slow down on our wholehearted devotion. Don't go there! Finish strong. Endure to the end. Have a heart like David!

Admonition: Don't let anything or anyone dilute your testimony.

June 17

John 8:31-32, 36 (NIV) 31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

In this discussion with the Jews, Jesus said that every word He spoke came from God. He claimed that when He was crucified they would believe. He also claimed that His every action was from God. His claims were so extraordinary, yet His life backed His claims. Some of those present believed Him. To those who believed He spoke the words of our text today. If you are a believer today, these words are also to you.

If you hold to Jesus' teaching, you are really His disciple. We put a lot of emphasis on the decision to believe. Discipleship requires a continuing process of holding to the words that Jesus spoke. A believer can go on in bondage to sin because they have not chosen to go on in discipleship. Clinging to Christ's life transforming words that came from the Father breaks the bondage of sin. Until we go on into discipleship we will be a poor example of the life of Christ.

As we live in the Word of God, it will change the way we think. Changing our thoughts changes our desires. Changed desires cause us to act differently. The freedom that comes from holding to Jesus' teaching is something the world cannot understand. They think they are free to sin when sin is enslaving them. Your freedom to turn down temporal pleasure looks like bondage to them. Only in the deepest stages of their bondage can they see they are enslaved. Demonstrating your freedom with joy and love can help them see the difference.

Consider: Are you a mere believer still in bondage, or are you going on into discipleship and the freedom that only the Son can give?