"When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise’” (Deuteronomy 12:29-30).
How open-minded should we be? Should we be open-minded about everything or are there certain things we should be closed-minded about and not even allow ourselves to consider? In our society it is generally frowned upon when a person chooses to be closed-minded about certain things.
As Moses continues to speak to the children of Israel about their future in the Promised Land, he warns them to be sure to destroy all the idols and all the remnants of idol worship in the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 12:1-3). God said, “You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things” (Deuteronomy 12:4). Instead, they were to worship God in the way He had prescribed and at the location He had commanded (Deuteronomy 12:5-31). He ends the chapter by saying, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32). How to worship God was not something open to various options or opinions. It was a closed subject. God expected His people to worship Him in the exact way in which He had commanded.
As the opening verse above indicates, God warns them to “take heed” that they do not become “ensnared” to follow after the nations from whom they were conquering the Promised Land to serve their gods. God was concerned that His people would be tempted to go astray from Him in their hearts and begin worshipping the same gods the nations around them did. In fact, when one looks at the history of Israel, this is exactly what happened. It all began because Israel failed to heed this warning of God. They began to “inquire” about how the nations around them “served” their gods and they did likewise (Judges 2:10-13). Their troubles began because, instead of being closed-minded and worshipping God as He commanded, they chose to be “open-minded” and give consideration about engaging in idol worship.
G.K. Chesterton said, “Do not be so open-minded that your brains fall out.” Many times we give into temptations because we first “inquire” about it. We let ourselves be “open-minded” about the particular temptation. For example, Eve was willing to “inquire” about whether or not she should partake of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3). Furthermore, a person does not become an alcoholic until they are first “open-minded” about imbibing that first drink. Moreover, a man doesn’t commit adultery until he is willing to at least “consider” forsaking his marital vows.
As Christians, we are not to be “open-minded” about temptation. We are commanded to “flee” temptation (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 2 Timothy 2:22). We have our perfect example in Jesus our Savior of not being open-minded about temptations. When Satan tempted Jesus by saying he would give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would fall down and worship him, Jesus said, “"Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "(Matthew 4:10). Jesus wasn’t “open-minded” about temptation.
Today, I will strive to guard my heart and mind from Satan and not inquire about or be open-minded about temptation. I will not be so open-minded that my brains fall out!
“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11)