When I think of men, we get involved in a lot of stuff. Sometimes we have too many irons in the fire and some fairly important things get left undone. Any married man might identify with this situation, we had the best of intentions, we never intended to not follow through, we never planned to let our wives down, but we did not finish what we started. My house is a standing monument to unfinished tasks… well, to be honest, many projects have not yet been started (there’s just a list posted to the refrigerator door).
After being delivered from centuries of slavery in Egypt, the children of Israel followed this same pattern. God gave His chosen people a simple instruction to possess the land, which meant they were to completely drive out the current residents. If they didn’t follow through, the Canaanites would drag them down spiritually, which was seen over and over, and the Israelites chasing after false gods rather than sole loyalty to the One True God. It’s recorded twice in two separate books: Joshua 17:13 and Judges 1:28.
In our present situation, we do the same thing. Not by worshipping false gods, but we claim the salvation of Christ yet still hold on to the old sinful nature of the past. While the nature doesn’t ever completely leave (the struggle continues throughout life – Romans 7:14-25) we cannot allow known sin to permeate our lives. John tells us that no one born of God sins (that is, habitually practices sin – 1 John 5:18), but we must strive to completely drive out the evil that desires to ensnare us into bondage to sin (2 Timothy 2:4, Hebrews 12:1, 2 Peter 2:20).
So what is the result of our not completely driving out the old sinful nature? I believe that God was tired of their hypocrisy. Check out the word of God through the prophet Jeremiah:
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? Jeremiah 7:8-10
Wow! Let’s get serious about walking in a manner worthy of the calling of Christ (Ephesians 4:1, Colossians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:12, . He saved us to live in faith (Colossians 2:6) not to walk in the same way as the world around us. Take on the “yoke” of Christ and learn from Him (Matthew 11:29)… that’s discipleship.