Solomon’s fall and what it teaches us about our own walk with Christ… (excerpts are from Ron Frost’s post “Guarding Against Heart Attacks“.)
In reading 1 Kings I’m appalled by Solomon’s fall. In chapter 8 we find Solomon’s epic recital of God’s greatness at the dedication of the new temple. Again, in chapter 9, God appeared to him a second time and promised: “I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.” But by chapter 11 we find a grim new report: “and the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” What happened?
There are times when failure comes. When we do not walk in the light. When we turn our backs on our Lord and our God. When we sin “through negligence, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault” (Book of Common Prayer).
Though deep down it repulses us, it is a fact that before our flesh has been perfectly restored so that we are like Christ, we will sin. But how do we guard our hearts against moral “heart attacks” — the ungodly desires and distractions encountered by Solomon?
The traditional answer offered by the stoic strain of Christianity relies on the mind and the will: first we learn which choices are proper, then we make those choices. And, at some level, it seems like a sound response. A child, for instance, is told to stop doing something they “want” to do—speaking of that behavior as an expressed desire—or else they will face some consequence. The question, of course, is whether the consequences are great enough to make them “want” to change.
We need to notice … that “desires” and “wants” are one and the same: the affective orientation of the heart. We always do what we “want” to do, and only when a competing desire overcomes a lesser desire does our “want” change. So a person may choose to take a painful course in college that seems like a stoic decision because they “know” it’s the right choice. But in reality they do it because they “want” the degree that the course will help bring about.
Our naïve failure to grasp that connection—that our desires shape everything we do—is what makes us vulnerable to moral heart attacks. The traditional troika of evil—the world, the flesh, and the devil—are only as effective as their affective powers are in drawing us away from God. Solomon certainly loved God at some level, but God was no match for the attractive women offered to him as “treaty brides” by the regional kings who wanted to shape what Solomon wanted. He might have asked God for advice about what would please him, as his father David normally did. But even David failed to ask God what would most please him in the case of Bathsheba. There David wanted another man’s wife more than he wanted God’s delight. Like father, like son.
How, then, do we guard our own hearts against ungodly desires—including the socially acceptable desires for self-advancing wisdom, power, wealth (in Jeremiah 9) and glory (John 5)? The only answer is for us to set the eyes of our hearts towards Christ as the one who is ultimately attractive once we truly see him. For us to remain secure we should desire more of Christ; to set our minds on him by responding to his Spirit’s captivating presence as he discloses Christ’s own heart to us.
Read Ron Frost’s full post here…