1 Samuel 7
And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the LORD only. (1 Samuel 7:3-4 ESV)
If you say you are going to return to the Lord, then ...
- Put away [what you worship more than Him]
- Direct your heart to Him
- Serve Him
... then you will be delivered.
When I read this passage it reminded me clearly of the hope and expectation He has for us. This is not a vending machine make-deals with God. This is not a health, wealth, and prosperity gospel. This is a simple relationship reality check. Do you love me? Then obey me; and if you obey me, it shows that you love me. (John 14:21-24)
One who has a heart towards God obeys out of love. Even if one may not feel like obeying, they should do so fully submitting to God in His infinite wisdom and mercy. If in your heart you are submitting to God because "you don't want to get punished" I think your heart is in the wrong place. Not that you are failing and undeserving (I feel the same way at times) but it is a good opportunity to realign yourself and not think about just consequences, but rethink who you are to Him.
You alone are valuable enough for Jesus, the son of God, to die on a cross. Even if you were the only soul that was saved, you were worth it. You are worth the birth, life, teaching, torture, death, and resurrection of God. You.
Humbling is it not?
So how do we respond to such a reality? Take a u-turn on sin. Leave those 'things' behind ... give your heart to Christ ... and serve Him.
You may be far from God, on the fence, newly enlisted in His army, or a long-time veteran. In any case, I am sure that there is a u-turn somewhere we all need to take ... something in our life ... maybe even right now at this moment. Think. See it?
Take it ...