“If you return to the Almighty, you will be blessed again. So remove evil from your house.” Job 22:23 (NCV)
If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent. Job 22:23 (NIV)
Most of you probably don’t have the issue that I have. You may not be able to relate to my weakness, but I can’t stop watching TV if it is ON in the house. As a pastor, sometimes I would visit a home and the family would keep the TV on for background noise, I guess that is what they were thinking. Anyway, I would have to sit with my back to the TV, so that I could concentrate on the discussion.
When our children were smaller, we called the TV a one-eyed monster. We would envision its imaginary tentacles reaching out to grab little heads to turn them toward the TV. We would talk about its hypnotic power to cause the eyes to go into a trance. To help enslave the monster, we would put up a verse over the TV – Psalm 101:3a-c “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; It shall not cling to me.” NASB
Last Monday, I dethroned the One-eyed Monster and took the TV down off the wall. Even if I did have the self-control, it’s just so obvious that the screen is given the highest place of visible honor for all to see. It may make its place onto the wall in the future. I’m not against enjoying a good movie or sports show with the family. I did this to give ME time to recalibrate. After certain things are in order (I have some goals which need to be accomplished first), then we will probably put it back.
Sorry for the long introduction, but I think this verse in Job fits my hearts desire to pursue blessing. Returning to the Lord usually requires a change associated with it. For repentance to have its full impact, one must turn away from those things which steal the heart away from close devotion to God. To love Jesus as Lord is more than having loving thoughts, it will include a radical (from the world’s perspective) changing in how you spend your time, money and things.
Let’s breakdown a couple of words.
Return is the simplified understanding of repentance. It means to turn back, away from and go the other direction. It has less to do with feeling remorseful and more to do with change of direction.
Restore means to build up as several translations have chosen. The key is not returning back to the beginning to build up. But adding good things right where you are. The New Century Version chose to use “blessing” to capture the meaning of restore.
Remove evil. One reason I like the New Living Translation is the plain English understanding it adds to the application of a verse. Look at how it translates this verse. “If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored— so clean up your life.”
Just like cleaning your house, cleaning and reorganizing will need to take place. But in the spiritual realm, look for those things which demand the most of your time and devotion. If you say you are too busy to participate in a spiritual discipline, you are right. Something will have to be cast aside to make room for that which is most important.
Many Christians fast during the first part of the year. Media fast can also be included such as no facebook, instagram or twitter. In some ways, I have chosen to remove the TV as part of the New Year fast. It has been a week and has definitely disrupted the flow of my day. But I am liking the change.
Someone asked, “aren’t you gonna leave the TV up until after the National Championship game with Alabama and Georgia?”
My answer, “Well, actually, God blessed us with tickets and a hotel by some very dear friends to watch the game live in Indianapolis.”
My encouragement to you? Don’t let anything take first place in your life where God should be honored. Yes, you will be out of step with most of the world’s rhythm and values. Some might think you are weird, a little or maybe too extreme. But then again, the value of God’s love, acceptance, forgiveness, and abiding presence is worth more than anything the world has to offer. Return and clean up your lives.
Blessings, Love y’all