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5 Ways to Bring a Good Man Down

For example, Deuteronomy 17 also prohibited the king from multiplying gold in his house, yet we read in 1 Kings that every year Solomon collected about 25 tons of gold for himself and that he had only gold articles in his house. That sounds like multiplying gold to me!

Solomon didn’t throw out all of God’s commands. He probably thought these commands were not that important. But the danger of sin is not in how wicked or immoral the act is. The danger is in losing the presence of the God you drive out through your sin.

When you reject God’s commands, no matter how small, you put yourself outside of his protection, and that one area becomes the area through which Satan injects poison into your life.

3. Disobedient friends bring a good man down.

Solomon grew so attached to his wives that “they turned his heart away” (1 Kings 11:3 CSB).

Probably the most important factor in determining whether you will make it all the way with Jesus is the people with whom you surround yourself.

Ironically, the one who talks about this the best in the Bible is Solomon: “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20).

One of my mentors in college told me, “For most things in your life, it is not the big dreams you dream but the small decisions you make.” There is probably no better application of that than friendships. It’s not the big things we dream about doing for God that determine our future but the friendships we choose in the present.

4. A good man falls down by degrees, not all at once.

After all the talk of Solomon’s glory, wisdom and devotion to God, the story of Solomon’s downfall in 1 Kings 11 feels like it comes out of nowhere. But it really doesn’t. If we go back to 1 Kings 3, we see that Solomon made an alliance with the king of Egypt by marrying Pharaoh’s daughter. From the beginning, Solomon had sowed the seeds of his destruction in small compromises.

Now, in one sense, this is encouraging to me, because it means God can choose and bless me even though I’m messed up, too. But it also shows me that just because God blesses me doesn’t mean I can ignore small sins in my life.

Nothing is more dangerous in the Christian life than sleeper cells of sin that we haven’t dealt with. We may think they are fine, but if we tolerate them, it’s just a matter of time before they gain the power to bring us down.

5. Deceptive overconfidence brings a good man down.

Solomon had had a life of nearly unbroken successes. He had unmistakable, world-renowned spiritual gifts. He had accomplished more than any other king in Israel ever had—and that made him lower his guard. Solomon bought into his own hype and assumed that his role as God’s chosen one meant that he was irreplaceable.

Few things destroy you faster than success, especially spiritual success, because it makes you forget how desperately you need grace.

John Newton said, “Growth in grace primarily means growth in the realization of your need for grace and in your dependence on it.”

You show me a Christian whose dependence on grace is not greater than when he started, and I’ll show you a Christian whose growth is artificial and fragile.

If you’re a Christian, God has given you greater riches and wisdom than Solomon ever possessed. Don’t throw them away by following in Solomon’s footsteps. Lean into God’s grace again today, because none of us should ever graduate from the school of grace.

This article originally appeared here.

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J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.