Photo: Creative Commons by Andrea Nguyen
Having been a vegetarian for a few years now, I’ve found that there are a couple wonderful things about tofu: it’s a great protein source, low in fat and cholesterol, it’s a little bit wiggly… It can be fried, grilled, sautéed, you name it, but the MOST lovely thing about it is, put it into any dish and it will automatically take on the characteristics of the main spice/flavoring you add, kind of like a potato, but jiggly. All good things when you want to add a meatless filler to your meal.
However, in the context of who we are as Christians, I think it would behoove us to figure out if we’re adding the spice or just absorbing it.
Upon first moving from Northern VA to right outside of Atlanta, I wanted to get to know my little town, so, I started walking the neighborhood streets with Little A in the stroller, joined a mommy’s group, even found a Bible study close by. I was lovin’ the new digs. However, I found myself not necessarily taking on the customs of this new town but my way of thinkingwas influenced, “Hmmm…I don’t understand it, but I guess that makes sense…” and it wasn’t until I got into my church that I realize I needed a mooring. I was becoming tofu-ish. Not good. Looking back now, I realize that much of that “ishness” had to do with being overly concerned about what other people thought of me. How do you make friends? You fit in, of course.
How do you keep them guessing, making yours and their lives inevitably uncomfortable? You hold on to the Word of God for dear life. You hold on and don’t let go and you see that He is the only one who can deliver you from life’s terrifying circumstances and you keep holding. Which is exactly what King Hezekiah did in II Kings 18.
Now, Hezekiah, King of Judah, came from a long, long line of disobedient kings, kings who realized that it was the “in” thing to set up high places, worship other Gods, defiling the temple with idols.
But Hezekiah had his heart set on something higher. Someonehigher.
He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him… II Kings 18: 3-7a
This was a strong man, and we all know who he drew his strength from because we can see from Scripture he certainly wasn’t getting any support from his father, nor from the culture around him.
Are we steering the conversations around us or are we allowing them to steer us?
After all, what would be the harm…the temples, the high places were already there, but, thank God, Hezekiah had his heart set on God.
Is there someone in your life that you can look to that you’ve seen has been steadfast in their devotion to the Lord–when the heat got really, really hot? Thank God for those examples and if you’ve found yourself becoming a little more tofu than rice-like (after all rice is rice no matter how you slice it), ask for his strength to stand firm.
In Part II of this series, we’ll find out just how important that steadfastness will be…