Have you ever had God put His finger on something totally
unexpected? Something that doesn’t seem very important to you? Well, the Lord did that to me this week as I was reading “Thru the Word.”
instructions God has given the nation of Israel as they get ready to go into the Promised Land. In verse 30, Moses reminds them of God’s warning:
“Be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, ‘How
do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.'”
Don’t be influenced by the culture around you, God is
telling His people. Don’t even investigate
their methods. Because investigation can turn into admiration, and admiration has the potential to suddenly morph into full-blown preoccupation.
for the Israelites. Just as it is for us.
When I read that verse, I was surprised that God immediately
brought to mind my habit of looking through fashion and lifestyle magazines while at
the nail salon. It seemed like an innocent, mind-numbing escape to me. Flipping
through the colorful pages passed the time. Looking at the trends in fashion
and reading about the lifestyles of the rich and famous seemed a bit
frivolous, but harmless. At least that’s what I thought.
thing, I found myself squirming a bit. For some reason, the thought of not
having my monthly escape really bothered me. After all, it helped me stay
current with the culture I live in, I rationalized.
“Be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods…”
That’s what God warned the Israelites. And that’s what the Holy Spirit was
speaking to my heart.
as a graven image. While the pagans used wood and metal to shape their gods, our
world tends to exalt concepts. Sex. Wealth. Youth. Power. Beauty.
As Christians, it is tempting to consult the world to see
how they do things in an attempt to be relevant and fit in. Which isn’t always
a bad thing. As Paul said, “I have become all things to all men so that by all
possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). Being current and fashionable
isn’t a sin. But NEEDING to be current and fashionable certainly can be.
Spirit that morning, I knew I had a problem. Especially when I acknowledged the
pushback I felt when I considered giving up my magazine fest. So I
took out my journal and began to dialogue with the Lord.
As I described the reluctance to obey that I felt, I asked God
to take the strange, unexpected attachment out of my heart. And somehow in the
confessing, I felt the rebellion inside begin to break.
vacation, but when it comes to shaping my life, I don’t want to copy the
pattern of this world. For “in worshiping their gods,” Deuteronomy 12:31 says
of the Old Testament idolaters, “they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates.” Going so
far as to sacrifice their children to get what they wanted.
Bottom line: an unhealthy preoccupation with the way the world
does things will always dilute our convictions, divide our affections, and cloud our judgment.
So when it comes to “inquiring minds”….I’ve decided to inquire
only of the Lord.