If it is spoiled, throw it out

SpoiledThis evening I read 1 Kings 9 where God answers Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple. In 1 Kings 9:8 God tells Solomon that the Temple will become a heap of ruins if Israel and her kings go after other gods and serve them.

The thought struck me this evening that the Temple, as opulent as it was, only had value if it helped the Israelites focus on their God. The Temple was a symbol to remind the nation of the God they were to serve and worship.

Contrary to what the Israelites may have thought, God did not value the building, he valued the response that the Temple was supposed to elicit in the worshippers. God wanted their hearts fully tuned to himself. When the Israelites no longer were affected by the Temple in this way, the Temple had to go. At best it then became a distraction. At worst, it gave a veneer of legitimacy to their spiritual misdeeds.

In the same way, we in the Church, have struggled to throw out the practices that no longer bring us closer to God. We cling to types of music, styles of dress, hair styles, programs and even Bible translations as though we loose a piece of God if we let these things go. I doubt that God cares about the style of music or dress with which we approach him; he wants our hearts, and he wants them in their entirety.

In business there is a proverb, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” When our methods and traditions no longer deepen our relationship with God and no longer assist us in our commission to make disciples, then they should be tossed. To keep repeating the same action and expecting a different result is insane. Let us choose sanity.