walk in the word
Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters (Matthew 12:30, esv).
I don’t know how much time you spend in the historical books of the Old Testament, but probably the most repeated theme in the two books of Kings (which originally was only one book of Kings) is the identical set of summary statements that characterized the kings’ reigns.“Neutral zones don’t exist. You’re either with Jesus or against Him. Either covering ground or covering up.” Click To Tweet
There were approximately forty kings in all, following the tenures of Saul, David, and Solomon, after which the nation split into the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. But the report on each of their performances was remarkably consistent. Either they “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (1 Kings 15:11, and others), or else they “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (1 Kings 15:26, and others; many others). In fact, of these almost forty kings, only ten were said to have done what was “right” in God’s eyes. And several of those kings maintained that description for only a partial amount of the time they spent on the throne. Actually, then, the number is four of those forty who the Bible says “did what was right” throughout their entire lives. So it wasn’t a high percentage.
But notice the black-and-white nature of that abbreviated review: “did what was right” or “did what was evil.” It was pass/fail. Right or wrong. No grading on the curve. No infinite iterations of gray. Each person was remembered by either one phrase or the other, with no middle ground in between.
And though we’d like to think (as it relates to us) that these stark distinctions would come with a little added space for explanation, our life in Christ and our spiritual maturity can be defined in much the same way. We’re either doing what is right—going forward, moving ahead, making progress—or we’re doing what is wrong—sliding backward, losing ground, not making progress. It’s that simple. It’s that clear-cut. And if you or I are letting what’s wrong encroach upon us, by embracing and making allowances for compromise, we find ourselves in that larger, much-more-common category with the long list of Israel and Judah’s kings who did what the Lord regarded as “evil.”
Jesus said it like this, when some of the Pharisees tried framing His reputation and ministry as being demonically empowered. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” If they didn’t believe Him to be who said He was, and if they didn’t live what His Word truly commanded of God’s followers, they were in another camp altogether. Neutral zones didn’t exist.
So I think it’s a fair question to ask ourselves today. If one or the other judgment was to be made of how you’ve lived your life up to this point, which way would the arrow toggle for you? He/she did what was right in the sight of the Lord? Or not?
And if you chafe at how categorical such an assessment may seem, it may mean you’re already up to your knees in compromise and hoping nobody notices.
You’re either with Him or against Him. Either covering ground or covering up. Make sure you settle today which side of this equation you’re walking on.
Father, thank You for a living Word that speaks just as clearly from its obscure, narrative passages as from its more direct words of instruction. And thank You for being wise and insightful enough to see straight through my attempts at cutting corners, calling me to nothing less than total, absolute allegiance. Keep my eyes open to the truth, and empower me to live a life that is right and good in Your eyes, in the strong name of Jesus, my righteousness, amen.
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