By Mike Kemper
Interim Pastor, First Baptist Church, Dyer
Focal Passage: II Chronicles 14:1-8
How can followers of Christ live godly lives in an ungodly world? This lesson makes the point that as followers of Christ we must make God the focus of our lives. The ungodly world around us continually blurs and distorts efforts of living godly lives. We must make willful decisions to live and do what is right. While it is true that we, as believers, live in this world, we should not be of this world, not so much like the world.
The next six lessons explore the life of King Asa. Most of the kings of Judah were not “good” kings, but Asa was one of the “good” ones, and he did what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord God.
Asa not only talked a good talk, he walked the walk as well. He did the right things. He “cleaned” house, removing those things that dishonored the Lord God. Knowing the enemies would return, Asa strengthened himself and the cities against their return attacks. As a result of Asa’s intentional actions, the land had a spiritual revival and “the land experienced peace for 10 years.”
Peace was a gift from God for those years and Asa used that time wisely to prepare for more challenges that he knew would come in the future. Asa fortified the cities with walls, towers, doors and bars. He rebuilt his military with 300,000 from Judah and 280,000 from the tribe of Benjamin.
Here’s an important principle: the time to prepare for troubles is not when the battles are raging upon us. The best time to prepare for troubles and trials is when times are good with peace, not when the battles are pounding against us!
Those peaceful times are not the time to say, “Now that things are peaceful and tranquil, it’s time to relax and take it easy.” Be thankful for those peaceful times indeed, but use the time wisely, strengthen yourself by going deeper in your faith disciplines.
Though the worldly pressure is strong, constantly threatening and battling us, we can do the right thing in the strength and power of the Lord. We must make intentional commitments to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. The deception of the world around us is that we must give up so much if we want to honor the Lord.
The truth is, God doesn’t subtract from our lives, He adds and multiplies to our lives! His desire and plan is to bless us and make our life far better than what the world can give us. When we honor Him and do the right things, He will help us fortify and strengthen our spiritual lives for troubles and turmoil that is just ahead.
Years ago, while working with my dad on some project, I remember my dad saying, “Son, if you want to end up right, you must start out right!” First, do what is right in the eyes of the Lord: get right with God and clean house by removing every barrier and hindrance to faithfully honoring God. Practice every day the spiritual disciplines that strengthen us — disciplines such as worship, prayer, reading and doing the Word of God!
By the way, remember, you can’t skip step one and go to step two (cleaning house), because if you do, the trash you removed today will only come back again tomorrow! Do it right the first time by doing what is right and getting right with God before proceeding on to “step two”! B&R — Kemper is interim pastor of First Baptist Church, Dyer.