Posted by: glorifyhim1 | October 8, 2012

Breaking the Cycle

Today we hear a lot about breaking cycles – breaking the cycles of poverty, violence, crime, alcoholism, drug addictions, abuse, to name just a few. But what do we mean by breaking the cycle?  Simply put, we stop repeating the same choices we, or others before us, have made. We break the pattern and do something different thereby breaking the cycle.

We can read about quite a few cycle breakers in the Bible, particularly among the kings of Israel and Judah. The majority of the kings in the period of the divided kingdom were not fully devoted to the Lord.  Phrases such as the following are repeatedly used to describe their various reigns: “He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been” (1 Kings 15:3).

But every so often, a new king would arise who made an effort to break the cycle. There was Asa, king of Judah, who succeeded the evil rule of his father, Abijah. But Asa was different. “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to obey His laws and commands. He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him” (2 Chronicles 14:2-5). Seventeen kings followed Asa as king of Judah, but only 7 of the 17 attempted, to some degree, to follow the Lord. The others, instead of listening to the prophets God sent and heeding their warnings, continued in the evil of their fathers and refused to turn to the Lord.

But before we become too judgmental toward these evil kings, perhaps we need to look at ourselves as well. I think about how many times my confessions can seem to repeat themselves over and over. I keep on doing the same things again and again, but somehow expect things to turn out differently. It reminds me of a favorite quotation attributed to Albert Einstein. “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

God promises to help us break our cycles of sin and failure, but we must be willing to surrender our own agendas, habits, and ways completely to Him. Perhaps God wants to do a new thing in our lives (see Isaiah 43:19). Or maybe He wants us to do something differently. As long as we cling to our old ways of doing things and what seems right to us, we are a lot like the kings that refused to follow the Lord. Paul referred to this when he stated: “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit as your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51). But when we surrender everything to God and seek His wisdom, He will break our cycle of defeat and accomplish His work in us.

 

 

 

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