“And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange (foreign) gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange (foreign) gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.”Genesis 35:1-4
I was minding my own business one Wednesday morning when my podcast brother sent me a preaching message. I have friends who, from time to time, send me messages which are quite encouraging to me, and I am thankful to receive them. I was excited to get the message and I couldn’t wait to listen and get back to my brother on how this message encouraged me.
I started to listen to the message and the preacher was talking to teens at a youth conference. I thought to myself, “Great, he is going to give it to these kids, and I might get some pointers to give to my own teens”. The preaching began to get hot, and I felt like he was preaching to me. He started to talk about true repentance, and how we should examine ourselves to see if we are saved. I know I am saved, but he took it further than that. He started to dig deeper and began to question if some of the things we do are pleasing to God.
He stated if we truly are saved, then we should be acting like it and doing the things that are pleasing to God, but yet it seems we are more in love with the world than we are with our God. He started to preach out against sin, even the sins that we get comfortable with and the sins that ensnare us again and again. God started to work in my heart and began to point out things I was doing that were not pleasing to Him. It made me revaluate what I was doing, and if I was really serious about pleasing Him. Was I willing to rid myself of the idols in my life? Was I willing to rid myself of the things that were not drawing me closer to God, but rather were driving me further away? I began to go through my phone and delete songs that I knew were not pleasing to my God, and I began to rid myself of the idols I had set up in my life. The preaching ripped my face off, but more importantly, it ripped my heart open and exposed it to the truth of God’s Word. I was expecting to hear an encouraging message midweek, but it was not the pleasant encouragement I was expecting. I appreciate my brother for sending it, and it sharpened me and set me back on the right path.
I look at Jacob here and see how God was working in his life. God commanded Him to go and build an altar at which he could worship, but there were some things he was going to have to do first. He was going to have to put away the foreign gods he and his family had allowed in their lives. They knew who God was, but yet they allowed these other gods into their lives. We are often the same way as we know the truth, but yet go chasing after our “gods” we love. We are not willing to rid ourselves of these gods, and we often do not much for God because of it.
Is your life pleasing to God, or are you simply going through the motions of Christianity? Are you willing to rid yourself of the “gods” you have set up in your life? What is it that you are not willing to get rid of? Are you 100 percent sure if you died that you would go to Heaven? Do you truly have a relationship with God? If you do, do you live like it? May we not let anything get between us and our Savior, and may we value our relationship with God more than we value our pet sins. Will you come clean before Him today or will you continue in your lukewarmness? Hebrews 12:1 states, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with (surrounded by) so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (endurance) the race that is set before us,” Let us run the race that God has called us to, and may we not let sin hinder us along the way.