I SAMUEL 8:19-22: “But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the LORD. 22 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Am I a follower or a leader? Am I being conformed to this world or transformed by the renewing of my mind? In all honesty, the answer is a little bit of both. This is not where I need to be, but it is the reality of the struggle we all face. My heart’s desire is to be a trailblazer for Jesus. My reality is that I feel the pull to be just like everyone else.
This is where Israel also struggled. They wanted to be like all the nations around them. They stood unique in that they had the living God as their King. Yet, they wanted an earthly king just like everyone else. The Lord told Samuel that they were not rejecting him as judge, they were rejecting the Lord as their King. Samuel warned them of the consequences of an earthly king – the taxes and oppression that would follow. Yet, the pull to be just like everyone else was so strong they cried out – NO! but there shall be a king over us!
The pull to have everything that others have, to be everything that others are, has sent many into a pathway of debt and a spiral of spiritual decline. The mantra of the world is “Your life is not complete without – (fill in the blank). We look at those around us who have more and we want more. We look at our lot in life and we wish we could be like (fill in the blank). People will seem to do anything today for their “15 minutes of fame”. The pull to be like everyone else is very, very strong!
What is the answer? What do I need to remind myself of on a daily basis? John writes in his first epistle – “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)
When I allow the pull of the world – to be like everyone else, to have what the world is shouting that I need, I am being pulled toward the temporary, toward that which is passing away. The exchange that I have to make in order to follow this path is FAR TOO EXPENSIVE! In order to be “like the world” I need to turn away from the Love of God. I know that I do not consciously do this, but this is the reality of the choice. To love the world and the things of the world is to turn away from the Love of the Father. God’s Love is eternal. The world love (things) is (are) passing away. To invest in the treasure of this world is to throw my life in the wind. To invest in His Love by doing the will of God is to lay up treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt. The choice is clear. When everything is stripped away – I CHOOSE THE LOVE OF GOD!
Lord, help me to choose Your Love today above all else. Let me stand strongly in Your Word and resist the temptations to be conformed to this world. Rather, let me be continually renewed in my mind as I meditate upon Your Truth. Set me apart by Your Truth. May this day be a day of laying up treasures in heaven by abiding in Your will! In Jesus Name!