"He was a great athlete, but he never reached his full potential."
"She was brilliant, but she never really applied herself."
"They were destined to do great things, but got distracted along the way."
One of the scariest phrases in the Bible is in 2 Chronicles 25:2, describing a king of Judah in Israel:
“He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart."
I don’t know about you, but that's one of those things I hope my family chooses to leave out of my obituary.
But the story goes on to recount what this king did on one occasion after a successful military victory:
“He brought up the gods of men of Seir and set them up as his gods and worshiped them,
making offerings to them” (25:14).
After God granted the king victory, that king abandons his faith to worship the very gods of the people he just defeated.
Then a godly man confronts the king with this bone-chilling question:
“Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?” (25:15)
What if we asked ourselves the same question today?
Why do we seek the gods of approval, rather than finding our identity in following Christ?
Why do we seek the gods of success in our careers, at the expense of a private devotional time with God or being involved in a church community?
Why do we seek the gods of security, making sure we don't do anything risky or uncomfortable, when the safest place for us is the center of God's will?
These things, which may not be bad inherently, often distract us from being obedient to the Lord. We allow them to be gods. We make them into objects of worship and desire.
What's worse is when we see these things in other people, yet fall prey to them ourselves. We all know someone who had a ton of potential that they wasted because they were distracted. Not because he or she was a terrible person — just distracted. They forgot.
Let’s be on guard this week against the gods, whatever they may be, that keep us from being fully devoted to Jesus Christ.
No one wants an epitaph that reads, "but not with a whole heart."