“He took the carved image he had made and put it in God’s temple…But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray.” 2 Chronicles 33:7…9
Lately, I have been thinking hard about what it means to be a follower of Christ. How easy it is to make following Christ something that it is not. I intend to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, but before I know it, being a Christian has meant a life full of activity, participating in Christian programs and hanging out with likeminded, nice people. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, except that I sometimes wonder if in the process, I haven’t tried to make Jesus in the image I want, not who He really is, which leads me to the disturbing question of how I understand my own motivations. When do I let myself slip away into self delusion? If it could happen to Manasseh, it could happen to me.
Paul to the rescue:
“You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” 2Corinthians 3:3-5.
My faith is not MY idea to begin with; it is a gift from God. I can rest in the fact that God’s great investment in me, his Holy Spirit will hold me close and accomplish His purposes. His grace is more than sufficient. Back to Manasseh:
“In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.” 2 Chronicles 33:12-13.
Manasseh is just one more example of God reaching down to save the humble heart. In this situation, I’ll follow Manasseh’s example. God’s grace will lead me to worship Him in truth and in change my heart. Just like in Manasseh’s situation, God’s grace will lead me home. So Jesus, I pray that today, you show me what it means to take up my cross and follow you.