How to Learn from Solomon, the Wisest Fool in the Bible
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2013 17 Dec
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Mark Atteberry's upcoming book, The Solomon Seduction (Thomas Nelson, 2014).
Solomon – one of Israel’s kings, whose life is depicted in the Bible’s Old Testament – is known as the wisest man who ever lived, apart from Jesus Christ. Yet despite his incredible God-given wisdom, Solomon still made many foolish decisions. Why? Each time, Solomon turned his attention away from God and toward the world’s temptations, such as privilege, power, riches, sex, and the accolades of others. As he did, he fell into sin that led him into destructive situations that ruined his life.
Solomon’s life shows that no one is wise enough to outsmart sin. No matter how smart you are or how much you love God, sin can seduce you if you don’t intentionally guard yourself against it and pursue more of God’s wisdom every day.
Here’s what you can learn from Solomon’s choices so you can avoid falling into destructive situations and instead gain wisdom that will usher God’s blessings into your life:
Admit just how dupable you really are. Does sin seem like a good idea to you? Ask God to show you just how easily you can be deceived about sin. Consider times when you’ve been enticed by temptations to sin, and how you may have rationalized giving in to those temptations.
Pray for discernment. The power to resist sin (and Satan’s deceptions about sin) begins with discernment. Pray for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind every day, empowering you to think about the situations you face from God’s perspective so you can make wise decisions about them. Study the Bible so its truths will sink deep into your soul; then you can bring relevant Bible verses to mind whenever you face a temptation to sin and need guidance.
Evaluate and adjust your life if God’s commands seem out of touch to you. Do God’s commands seem out of touch with your experiences in the real world? If so, remember that the evil side of the spiritual world always undermines what holy Scripture says. If Satan can get you to doubt the relevancy and value of God’s biblical commands, he can seduce you with sin. You can get back on track by evaluating and adjusting: your priorities (how you spend your time, money, and energy), your influences (the people around you whom you listen to), and your direction (the course your life is taking through the many small choices you make daily – either closer to God, or farther away from Him).
Choose God’s glory over your own glory. If you let your ego grow to an unhealthy level that doesn’t reflect reality – as Solomon did – your ego will cause dangerous problems, such as: disconnection from reality, insensitivity to the problems and needs of others, and a diminishing view of God. Have you been just going through the motions of worship lately, or truly connecting with God and giving Him praise? Refuse to be a slave to your ego by embracing humility, which includes submitting to God’s authority and power and yielding your will to God’s purposes for your life.
Don’t ignore God’s warnings about sin. Sin may seem harmless to you for a while, but sooner or later, sin will always destroy you if you don’t heed God’s warnings about it. God’s warnings are always clear and specific, and Solomon warned in the book of Proverbs that people can’t make excuses that God hasn’t warned them about the dangerous consequences of sin. So whenever you sense God warning you about sin, examine yourself honestly and choose to turn away from that sin.
Choose repentance over sin management. You can’t try to manage ongoing sin in your life without it damaging your relationship with God. Choosing a lifestyle of sin management over repentance means that you’ve pledged your allegiance to sin rather than to God – and God wants you to give your allegiance wholeheartedly to Him. Also, no matter how hard you may try to manage sin in your life, you’ll eventually fail – the truth always comes out, so your sin will be exposed. Instead of concerning yourself with how things look, focus on how things are in your life through repentance. Confess your sin to God, and then repent by changing your attitudes and behaviors to move away from that sin and closer to God. Solomon writes in the book of Proverbs that those who turn from their sins will receive mercy from God.
Pay attention to what faithful friends have to say when your behavior troubles them. Listen to your trusted friends’ suspicions about behavior in your life and take their concerns seriously.
Overcome materialism. Like Solomon, many men get so caught up in the pursuit of wealth that it begins to cloud their judgment. Don’t let that happen to you. Overcome materialism by focusing on giving more than accumulating, asking God to help you be content with what you have, avoiding get-rich-quick schemes, limiting the time you spend on work so it doesn’t imbalance the rest of your life, and pursuing God rather than money.
Overcome lust. Don’t allow yourself to be seduced into sexual sin, the way Solomon was with many different wives and concubines. If you’re involved in an inappropriate romantic relationship on any level (from flirting to having sex), end it without hesitating, and run away from all temptation to sin sexually in the future.
Guard your heart against idolatry. Make your top priority your relationship with God; don’t devote yourself more to any other pursuit, because anything that competes with God for first place in your life – from your work to a relationship with another person – becomes an idol that can put you spiritual danger similar to what Solomon fell into because of idolatry.
Welcome God’s discipline. Like any good father would when a child disobeys and falls into harmful sin, God will respond with discipline designed to bring you back into line with His good will for you when you sin. If you’re going through pain caused by God’s discipline, keep in mind that God is on your side, He’s more likely to discipline you for a pattern of sin in your life than for an isolated incident, He’s more concerned about your repentance than your comfort, and when you repent He will put a stop to painful discipline and give you forgiveness and restoration. Regularly examine your life to consider your areas of vulnerability to sin (whatever makes you feel the most pride and pleasure), ask God to show you what changes you should make to stop sinning, and then make those changes so your life will be headed in the right direction: closer to God.
Adapted from Solomon Seduction: What You Can Learn from the Wisest Fool in the Bible, copyright 2013 by Mark Atteberry. Published by Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Mark Atteberry is the award-winning author of 11 books. He has been the preaching minister of Poinciana Christian Church in Kissimmee, Florida, since 1989. A popular speaker, he has preached and led workshops at countless churches, conferences, colleges, and retreats. He is married to Marilyn, his high school sweetheart.
Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the new Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood's golden age. Visit her website at: whitneyhopler.naiwe.com.
Publication date: December 17, 2013