“His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. And furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.”
2 Chronicles 17:6 (ESV)
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve realized that I still have high places in my life. Places where I struggle to honor God. Places where I honor something else more. The evidence is in a pattern of behavior.
When I feel frustrated, I speak harshly to those around me. When I feel unmotivated, I surrender to sloth and laziness. When I feel unappreciated, I bow down to anger and self-righteousness. These are my high places. I worship at the feet of my feelings. Remember our past few weeks talking about freedom? Well, I am often guilty of being enslaved to my strongest feeling.
Following several repeated failures in this area, God brought me to our anchor verse for today. This verse gave voice to the reason my feelings ruled my actions. I gave my feelings more honor than I gave God. That truth bit into my soul and opened my eyes to see the high places for what they are: areas where I gave myself permission to act in an ungodly way.
I need to fix this, but how? Looking at the beginning of the verse, we can see what enabled King Jehoshaphat to remove the high places from Judah. The answer was in his heart. And our answer lies in our hearts.
“His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord.” I hadn’t read this verse in the ESV before and this phrase arrested my attention and changed my perspective. I realized my feelings had become a place of false worship. It was time to learn how to remove this high place.
Identifying High Places
Before removing a high place, we have to identify it. Excuses must go. Blinders must be removed. We aren’t just looking for “bad” things, we’re looking for offending patterns.
For instance, feelings aren’t bad. But allowing them to rule us is. Doing good deeds isn’t bad, but getting angry when our good deeds go unrecognized points to pride. As we look for the high places in our lives, we may discover that it is a person, job, schedule, or possession. Anyone or anything that causes you to behave contrary to God’s will is a high place. Anything that makes you dishonor God is an idol.
We can look for the patterns of behavior that cause us to cringe when brought into the light of God’s presence. I noticed a repeating pattern of negative behavior in my life. That was the key to identifying my high place. As we seek God’s help in this process, He’ll show us the high places we need to remove.
Removing High Places
I compared a few different versions of 2 Chronicles 17:6 to see what else I could learn from Jehoshaphat. The NIV says “His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord,” and the NKJV says “And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord.” His heart was the key to his act of removing the high places from the nation.
We start by searching our hearts. It will take courage. We must be devoted to God and to walking in His way. When God fills our hearts, He will naturally begin displacing any false gods that have taken up residence. And finally, we must delight in God.
DELIGHT. Wow, that word challenges me more than the others. I love God. I am devoted to Him. I even feel courageous with Him by my side. But delight. That word evokes visions of laughter, joy, eyes sparkling with glee, anticipation, and longing. Does my heart delight in God? Does yours?
Sometimes the answer is yes. But other times, I have to admit, the answer is no. My heart can even lean toward apathy. Lukewarm. Yuck. We cannot fabricate delight, but God can cultivate it in our hearts. Draw near, invite Him to search your heart, and experience delight as He fills you with the joy of His presence.
As delight ignites, our devotion will grow, and our courage will allow us to look for patterns that direct us to more high places. Looking at them through our newly delighted hearts, the high places won’t look so tantalizing. In fact, they will become repulsive as we see how dark, dingy, and dangerous they are. The high places will lose their appeal and the walls will begin to crumble.
It won’t be easy. But tearing down our high places is worth it. Removing the high places is really about placing God at the topmost point of our heart. When we honor Him above all else, then our feelings, our relationships, our jobs, and all else will take their proper places in our lives. We’ll turn to God Most High rather than climbing to our high places.
Father, thank you for love and grace. Show us the high places in our lives and help us remove them so we can honor you in all we say and do. Teach us to love You and Your ways with courageous, devoted, delighted hearts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.