Living a Lie
God makes certain, special promises to those who determine to seek Him with all their hearts. One such promise is a covenant of His presence. God revealed this covenant of His presence through an unnamed prophet who delivered a message to Eli, the high priest of Israel. At the time, Eli was backslidden. The Lord had been speaking to him, warning him against allowing sin and compromise. But Eli had ignored all of God’s words. Now this unnamed prophet said to Eli, “The Lord God of Israel saith, “I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” (I Samuel 2:30).
The phrase “lightly esteemed” has to do with the lifting of God´s presence. This does not mean a person is damned, but rather that he will have to walk in the power of his own flesh. God was telling Eli, “I intended to bless your house, to favor you. But you have scorned me, becoming soft on sin and allowing your lusts
to push me aside. Now I will take My presence from you.”
Many people come to Christ with a great, initial burst of faith. Yet over time their zeal wears thin, and they begin to neglect the Lord. They “lightly esteem” His commands and turn back to their old, sinful ways.
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I hate to admit that I have been that person. The one who started out full of the zeal of God, the joy of salvation. But time and treachery takes a toll on us. We can become discouraged and disillusioned and stumble into a sort of spiritual stupor. There is great confusion. “What happened?” is a common question we ask ourselves and others. The simple answer is, “You took your focus from the Lord and put it on something or someone else.” For some, the ministry is the false idol. When the ministry of God is more important than the God of the ministry, well . . . you can see where that could go. Other ‘idols’ can become our focus, with the same disastrous result.
The problem is not so much that we get into this lesser state of being, but that we don’t do what it takes to get out of it. For each person who goes aside, there is a window of opportunity to make things right before the hammer comes down. It is a spiritual warfare taking place, and must be fought spiritually. In our Bible story above, Eli knew what was going on, but he did nothing. He had a very high position in Israel, and evidently just couldn’t grasp the obvious. Too impressed with himself? Maybe.
The person who has lived in the presence of God day by day, will always know when His presence is gone. But so many of us do nothing to get back to where they were. We refuse to admit what we have done or to do what we know will help us. We begin to live a lie, fooling ourselves and as many other people as we can, for as long as we can. God will allow this for a time, but if we persist, the price we pay gets higher as the days go by and in proportion to the sinning done while in the altered spiritual place. We sing a little louder, do more good deeds, whatever we can think of besides repent and do the right thing.
Some of us who lived this and did not take the way out provided by the Lord, have come to shame and loss. But the impact was mostly on ourselves and a few people around us. Others have gotten to do all this on national TV in front of God and everybody. The bigger you are, the harder you fall. But whether big or small, the damage is severe to everyone it touches.
Once the hammer comes down, a person is restored slowly over time, or not at all, depending on the level of stubbornness of heart. (Read here: PRIDE.) Some are so full of pride they blame anybody and everybody to avoid having to own their sin and repent. Adam blamed Eve and God for giving her to him. Eve blamed the snake. The snake lost his legs, but (I think) still laughed all the way to the pit of fire.
My little children, I write these things to you, so you do not sin. But if any of you do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, who is Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 1 John 2:1
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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