I’ve been reading through the Bible this year and I can’t help noticing that so many of the Old Testament kings had a “holdout.” A holdout is an area in their lives where they did not fully obey God or an area in which they did not fully trust God. I was looking specifically at two kings of Judah this past week; King Asa and his son Jehoshaphat. Both these kings sought the Lord on several occasions. They sought to restore worship of the Lord to the whole of Judah. Jehoshaphat even sent out priests and Levite scholars to teach the word of God to the people of Judah. They tore down many of the pagan shrines and idols of worship. Yet for all their searching for God’s will they had areas in their lives where they stepped outside of God’s will.
Asa in the later years of his reign, instead of trusting in God made an alliance with a foreign king to fight his cousin Israel. Jehoshaphat also made an alliance with the despicable King Ahab of Israel having his son marry one of Ahab’s daughters. Each of these acts only brought trouble to themselves and to their country. These hold out areas lead to loss of life in Judah’s armies and more importantly loss of favor with God.
As I look at the Old Testament Kings were not the only ones who had hold out areas. There were prophets and priest as well as ordinary people. Yes and we in the 21st century are not immune to having hold out areas in our lives. Sometimes they are small sometimes they can be large. Some of them are hidden in out private lives and Some of them are out there for the whole world to see. The point is that these are areas that can keep us from being all we can be for Christ. They can rob us of our effectiveness.
Are there areas of your life that are not under control of the Spirit? They may not seem like such a big deal but if they are off limits to God they can become a big deal. Those alliances with other countries may have seemed like the thing to do for Asa and his son Jehoshaphat but they brought with them some huge consequences. Anytime we set up something as out of bounds for God we set up an idol. It becomes more important. This can make for some negative consequences.
For some us, we know what those hold out areas may be. For others, perhaps we need to ask God, “Do I have a holdout area?” Allow him to open your heart to areas that you might not be aware of that have become holdouts. Then do something about it. Ask God for forgiveness. Tell a Christian brother or sister what you need to work on and get some accountability.
Let’s seek to make Emily Wesleyan Church a “No Holdout’s Zone.” Let’s live fully for Christ.