Slow Fade

Monday May 6, 2013

The gradual slip.

The slow fade.

The gentle slope.

Could it be happening to me?

Downfall doesn’t come in a day; it happens gradually, slowly, without bells and whistles.

Solomon seemed to have it all, and a slow fade had to be the last thing on his mind.

Extolled as the wisest man in the world, and likely the wealthiest, he even had a promise from God. Despite his humble request for wisdom, it seems he forgot the last part of that conversation with God. The part where God said, “If you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands…”

Solomon’s demonstration of wisdom came as two women approached him with one child; Solomon passed this one with flying colors. But as the years passed, more women came into his life and he forgot God’s decrees and commands.

1 Kings 11 tells us, “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women…they were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, ‘You shall not intermarry with them because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray…So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD.”

Solomon’s seven hundred wives of royal birth are further testimony to his turning away from God. These marriages were likely political alliances to help Solomon protect his kingdom. Who do you suppose Solomon should have been looking toward to help him protect the kingdom? I imagine God was just waiting for Solomon to turn to Him instead.

Solomon’s heart was divided, and that led to compromise.

Where do I look to protect my borders—my family, my bank account, my health?

Is my heart turned wholly toward God? Do I give Him my fears? My future?

“There are some things I have to take care of. Things I need to worry about,” I may exclaim. “These are just little things, nothing spectacular—certainly not as big as 700 wives and 300 concubines.”

With those words, I may have just set foot upon that gentle slope.

In The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, the title character teaches Wormwood, an inexperienced tempter, how to undermine faith and tries to school him in working against the Enemy (God). At one point, he advises Wormwood:

“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge man away from the Light and out into the Nothing…Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual onethe gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

We all wander out onto the gentle slope from time to time.

With no signposts, no milestones, we may not even notice the gradual decline.

I’m asking today—wave me down, Lord. Send up flares if you have to.

Call me back, Father—away from the Nothing and back into the Light.

I'm linking up with Laura, Michelle, and Jen today.

Photo credit


Unknown said...

the srewtape letters is my favorite christian book ever. i struggle to finish the non-fiction, teaching books, but this one? latched right on to that scary story. i like the image of god flagging us down on that slope....

Barbara H. said...

I hadn't thought about the fact that Solomon's wives and concubines may have been a result of political maneuvering to protect his kingdom. We get into such trouble when we try to protect ourselves instead of trusting God to do it.

I haven't read Screwtape but ought to some time. It is jarring that the "little" sins can separate us us just as much, and much more easily, than the "big" ones. It's way too easy to keep going once a step is taken off the right path. May God keep us from it.

Unknown said...

Dear Laura
When I read The Screwtape Letters I remember the one thing that will always stay with me was when Screwtape told one of his underlings not to try the humans to do big sins, but to make them despondent and discouraged. That was all that was needed. The enemy does have his bright moments.
Blessings from Laura's

Diane | An Extraordinary Day said...

What a terrific post, Laura!
It's interesting to note that we often see those little sidesteps in our circle of influence...but it's much more difficult to see them in ourselves.
I think you hit it with obedience.
And then I'm reminded of the scripture that says obedience is more than sacrifice.
Thanks for the insight on the political reasons for all the wives...interesting.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to read the Screwtape Letters. I need to bump that up on my list.

I am asking God for flares, too!.

Thank you!

(Visiting from Jen. )

Unknown said...

Amen -- let's pray for us all -- that the flares would go up and we would recognize them.

Laura said...

A wise word of caution, Laura. The Screwtape Letters is a favorite of ours also-particularly my husband's as he is a big Monte Python fan and enjoyed the voice of John Cleese narrating in the audio :)

Jean Wise said...

Great reminder. I love The Screwtape Letters and really need to reread it again.

Nancy Sturm said...

A very profound post, Laura. How easy it is to slip down that slope, ever so slightly. Thanks for the wise advice. We do indeed need to be diligent and keep climbing up, not sliding down.

bluecottonmemory said...

I just bought the Screwtape Letters - and am looking forward to reading it. Powerful quote - and powerful message!

Amy Sullivan said...

Of course love Screwtape Letters.

Slow fades are the toughest kinds of fades because I deny I'm on any kind of slope until I find myself tumbling to the bottom.

I really connected with this, Laura.

Pamela said...

"Wave me down, Lord" is my cry. Too often life grabs hold and I wander. Isn't God just so faithful?

Beth said...

Solomon was a perfect example of "the slow fade," Laura Lee. And I think it's easy to sit in judgment of those who get caught up in this problem, but as you've pointed out from C.S. Lewis' great work, it's so very "gradual" and subtle. (Love The Screwtape Letters, BTW!)

Thanks for this important word of warning, my friend. I hope you link this up with Wedded Wed so others can benefit from your wise words here. :)

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