2 Chronicles 12:14New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.
We can draw a lot from this one verse. First we see the obvious: he (Rehoboam) did what was wrong because he didn’t seek God. The Amplified says that he didn’t seek to yearn for God. He didn’t determine to make seeking God first priority in his life. It’s not that he was planning to turn from God, or even that he didn’t follow God at all, but he wasn’t diligent or passionate, resolved to only seek after God and to place that first in his life. If you set your heart to seek God you are not only trying to seek God, but making that your heart’s desire. It is so much more than “trying to be good” or just doing your best to follow God.It is a passionate desire to seek and follow only God. It is a consuming obsession and fire inside you that dictates everything you do. Many Christians think that just doing their best and doing the right thing is enough. But that falls far short of where we should be. God never called anyone to be a mediocre, lukewarm Christian. We are called to be on fire, zealous, fanatical even. Anything less is two-faced really, because it means that you are only serving and seeking God partly, not completely. You are not “sold out” for God. Frankly it’s lazy. You really have only two options: serve God or serve Satan. You can’t be in between. Anything in the middle is making ground for compromise, which is exactly what lead Rehoboam to his downfall. It wasn’t blatant idolatry or denial of God. It was compromise, complacency, a stagnant faith that allowed him to be lead away and persuaded to do what he should have known was wrong.
That leads to the second observation: the cure. If he had set his heart to truly and completely seek God, if he had made that his passion and priority, if he had been an ardent follower of the One True God he would not have done evil. Again, there are only two options: don’t be sold out for God thereby allowing compromise to corrupt you, or be a zealous follower of God and never go wrong (that doesn’t mean you will never sin but it will quickly correct you when you do rather than allowing you to continue down that path). Really, the key to every shortcoming we as Christians face is abiding in God. The word is thrown around a lot and many people don’t fully understand what it means. Simply put, to abide means to dwell. But the depth of that meaning is something that many Christians spend a life time seeking and discovering, if they seek it at all, and something of which I am only beginning to scratch the surface. It is a life pursuit of seeking only God, desiring to please and honor only Him, letting Him be your sole focus and purpose. To be honest, it simplifies your life. Rather than spending all your time and energy on trying to make yourself better and personally trying to get rid of every bad thing in your life, you simply focus on God and that will slowly, miraculously transform you into what you should be. I say miraculously because it is a work of the Holy Spirit in us, not something that we can make happen. We become like those we are around the most. It is often observed that married couples, over the years, become like each other, even in physical appearance. If we spend all of our time and effort focusing on God, we will naturally become more like Him, by osmosis in a sense. It’s not that we live how ever we want and leave all the change up to God, but rather we spend more energy on God Himself rather than on ourselves, and the change will happen almost naturally. Truthfully, this idea is rather freeing, it takes so much pressure off of us and leaves that up to God. We need to be like Mary and desire simply to be always with God. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything godly flows from that: actions, thoughts, motives, words, wills. We need nothing more to be the Christians we should be than to continually seek the presence of God. Accomplish that and you will have accomplished everything.
For further insight on abiding see:
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (especially the month of June)
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence