BUT NOT WITH A LOYAL HEART…
The two books of Kings and the two books of Chronicles describe the history of the nation of Israel and her rising and falling while being ruled by various kings. When the authors introduce a king, the authors usually describe the king as either: 1) “he did what was right and good in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 14:2), or 2) “he walked in the ways of his father” (2 Kings 21:21). The former description identifies the king as someone who led the Israelites in worshipping the one true God (2 Chronicles 29); whereas, the latter description identifies the king as someone who worshipped false idols and led the Israelites into wickedness and apostasy (2 Chronicles 24:15-22). However, one particular king is described in a different way.
In 2 Chronicles 25:2, King Amaziah is introduced with, “and he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart”. His actions were right, but his heart was evil. The reality is that God searches the hearts of mankind and knows our motivations and desires (Psalm 139:23). He knows when our hearts do not sincerely align with our actions or with our words. Because Amaziah’s heart was not truly devoted to God, his right actions were with limitations. He eventually worshipped and served false gods and turned his back to the God of Israel (2 Chronicles 25:14-16).
This teaches us that our number one priority as Christians is to make sure our hearts are right with God. As the psalmist asked the Lord to search his heart and test his motivations (Psalm 139:23), we, too, must ask the Holy Spirit to examine our thoughts, desires, and intentions.
What is motivating you to do what you do? Are you trying to lose weight because you are unhappy with your appearance? Or are you trying to lose weight to be a better steward of the body God has blessed you with and to honor Him by taking good care of yourself? Do you serve your church because you love the Body of Christ and want to do your part to build His church? Or do you want to be recognized by and receive praise from others? Do you read your Bible and study scripture because you “have to”, or do you have a genuine love for God’s word and a desire to know Him better? Do you attend church out of zeal for the House of the Lord, or do you just like gathering with your friends? Our motivations matter. Our desires matter. Our intentions matter. Are yours honoring to God?
We can make sure our hearts are right with God, by guarding our minds (Romans 12:2, Philippians 4:8, Colossians 3:2). We take every ungodly thought captive unto the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). A sinful thought becomes a sinful desire, which then becomes a sinful action. And repeated sinful actions eventually become sinful behavior. So by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, we must stop it when it begins in the mind. How do we stop it in the mind? We mediate on God’s word (Joshua 1:8).
As Christians, the only way we will be able to persevere through the trials, endure the wickedness and lawlessness of this world, resist the evil desires of our flesh, and fight the good fight until the end is if we are rooted in the Word of God. Let God’s word be true and everything else a lie. Only by being grounded in the Bible will we be able to see the ever-changing worldly teachings, ideologies, and philosophies as the wicked deceptions that they truly are. Only by seeking the Lord and knowing His ways will we be able resist conforming to the ways of this world. Guard your mind, keep your heart pure, and do what is right and good in the eyes of the Lord.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall mediate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” Joshua 1:8