Bible Studies for Life

with Bobby McKay

Sunday,  July 21

Pursue Godliness

2 Chronicles 14:1-8

So, here we go again Mississippi. We are knee-deep in an election year and the primary season is in full force. All it takes is a casual look down most any street, road, or highway and you can see politicians’ signs of the times. The ads are in print, on television, on billboards, and on social media. I have had the opportunity to meet a few of the local candidates on my doorstep as they make their rounds in my neighborhood. While it may seem like a bit much at times, we should be thankful for how blessed we are with the freedom to choose our leaders. One mistake I see many pastors making the last few years is becoming too involved in politics and neglecting the high calling of sharing Christ and serving their local congregation. It could be they lose focus on what matters most. Then again, a loss of focus is what hinders each of us from effectiveness.

What if I told you there was someone in Scripture that held office and was a positive example of how to keep promises and keep your focus on God? Our first lesson in our new unit, Living a Godly Life in an Ungodly World, challenges each of us to pursue godliness. We have for our example King Asa in 2 Chronicles 14. His reign of 41 years was considered both lengthy and prosperous on many levels.

Asa assumed the role of the king after his father, King Abijah, died unexpectedly. No doubt there was pressure on Asa from the nation of Judah, his advisors, and probably even himself, to be a just and effective ruler. King Asa possessed a duo of traits that would serve each of us well: focus and pursuit of godliness. Asa was blessed to become King in a time of peace, but his responsibilities were no less important. He made the most of his position by doing what was “good and right and in the sight of the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 14:2). He did this by removing the pagan altars from the land and told the worshippers to go seek the instructions and the commands of God. He gutted the shrines created to false gods and abolished idol worship. The result? God continued to pour out blessings and real peace filled the land. By pursuing godliness and not losing focus on what mattered most, Asa was an incredible and blessed King and the people were obedient to God.

He did not negotiate with evil and he refused to compromise with sin. He eradicated many of the avenues for it. The more you and I focus on God, the more we will detest sin and transgressions against Him. Do you see an abundance of sin in your life, home, church, or community? It is the result of many things, but none as much as Christians not willing to take an intentional stand for the holiness of God. Sure, we may not have the pagan altars of Asa’s day, but we are far from short supply when it comes to evil devices in our society today. Church, we have lost our focus and we have no one to blame but ourselves!

As a result of this wonderful peace, Asa worked even harder. He didn’t become complacent or reminisce about the good old days. He knew all too well when God was blessing, the enemy would be brewing. When we experience peace in our lives, it is a ripe time for temptations to come creeping in. Be on guard and do not lose your focus. Do not give up your pursuit of godliness. We must seek Christ continually. We must die to ourselves and take up our cross daily.

With so many things in our world today vying for your attention, where is your focus? What are your pursuits? I recall reading a bumper sticker once that read, “The Winner of the Rat Race is Still a Rat.” If you get what you are after, what would you have to show for it at the end of the day? Only as we pursue godliness will we have an eternal reward.

In the meantime: focus on Christ, pursue godliness, and don’t forget to vote come early August — and in case you forget, we get to start the process all over again for the next three months for the General Election in November! Wouldn’t it be great if someone like Asa was on the ballot?

McKay is the pastor of Pleasant Grove Church, Brookhaven.