Anyone who has ever participated in a race knows it’s how you finish the race that’s most important. Starting out strong can give you a definite advantage, but in order to win, you must be the first one across the finish line.
Second Chronicles lists the kings of Israel and Judah. It states whether or not the kings started out following the Lord. Some did but many did not. Israel and Judah were surrounded by nations who worshipped various false gods and idols. Those worshipping these gods and idols greatly influenced many of the kings.
Israel and Judah knew they were supposed to worship the one true God—the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac. God’s prophets repeatedly warned against serving and worshipping false gods.
Some of the kings started out following the Lord. Their intentions were good, but somewhere along the way they were tempted to stray from Him. And did. Some of their decisions might not have seemed like that big of a deal, but they led the kings away from totally serving and depending on God.
King Rehaboam started off serving God but later abandoned the Lord—and all Israel followed him into sin.
Fortunately for King Rehaboam, he repented, so the Lord did not completely destroy him.
King Asa started off doing what was right in God’s sight. However as time went on, King Asa made a military alliance with the evil king, Aram. In doing so he put his faith in Aram rather than in the Lord. Thus pulling Asa away from his close relationship with God.
King Jehosaphat started out pleasing the Lord. He later made an alliance with a godless king, Ahab. The alliance was for Jehosaphat’s son to marry Ahab’s daughter. This alliance displeased the Lord.
King Uzziah started out serving God. The Lord blessed him abundantly. Instead of being thankful to the Lord, Uzziah became proud. In doing so, he depended on himself instead of inquiring of the Lord.
Although it does not seem these kings committed an awful sin, their walk away from the Lord began with the small step of compromise. Compromise can be a slippery slope away from the Lord.
On the other hand, King Manassah was very wicked as he began his reign. However, he later repented and cried out to the Lord.
Any time one of the king’s repented and cried out to the Lord, the Lord forgave him and took him back. The same is true for us—anytime we repent and cry out to the Lord, He will forgive us. That is how loving our God is.
I have known young people who started out on fire for the Lord. They embraced their faith with great enthusiasm. They wanted to win the lost for Jesus.
As they grew and more of the world came to influence them, their faith waned and the fire they once had for the Lord became a cold ember.
Compromise sneaked in. Once these young people stood firm in their beliefs. Now little temptations edged their way in and after giving in to these temptations, the line between right and wrong blurred. Some even lost their faith altogether.
I’ve seen this in adults as well—even preachers. All it takes is giving in to one little temptation, then the next one doesn’t seem so bad. It leads to that slippery slope away from the Lord.
As you can see by the kings I mentioned, it did not take a lot for them to lose their faith and reliance on God–influences from ungodly people, hanging out with the wrong crowd, or becoming prideful.
A strong start definitely has merit whether it is in an actual race, or in the Christian life. In the Christian life, it is important to start with accepting Jesus as your savior. Sound, Biblical teaching and time with the Lord give roots to our faith. It is important for your spiritual roots to go deep, thus helping you stay with the Lord and not being tossed to and fro by the teachings and influences of the world.
If you started out strong in your faith but have lost your fervor, I urge you to repent and ask the Lord to forgive you. He will welcome you back.
If you are strong in your faith, fight to stay strong in your faith. Don’t let those temptations and compromise pull you from your relationship with Jesus. Finish strong.
Each day is a gift. Stay strong in your faith.
©2020 Bev Brown—All rights reserved