Reading: 1 Kings 11:1-13
Although Solomon was one of the wisest men who ever lived, he couldn’t keep his heart completely devoted to God. Solomon loved his wives more than God, and this led to his downfall. Because of his sin, his kingdom would not remain strong.
I’m sure Solomon didn’t plan on worshipping idols right away. Remember, he had asked God for wisdom. How did Solomon get so far into sin?
The following story was written by Howard J. Chidley and published in Fifty-Two Story Talks for Boys and Girls in 1914. now out of print, the book may be read free online.
I wonder if I can make plain to you what a habit is. Have you ever seen men laying concrete sidewalks here in the city, and they put boards across to keep people from walking on the pavements before they were thoroughly dry? I am sure you have. These men keep people off the walk while it is soft because, if any one steps on it, then his footprints harden into the walk as it dries, and will always remain there.
Now, boys’ and girls’ minds are just like those cement walks when they are wet and soft; and if you do a thing over and over again as a boy or girl, you will make such a deep mark in your brains that when you grow up you cannot get the mark out, and you just keep on doing it, whether you want to or not.
When once you do a thing, it is easier to do it again. Even cloth and paper find it easier to do a thing a second time than the first. The sleeves of your dresses and coats fall into the same wrinkles and creases every time you put them on. That is what we call the “hang” of a dress or coat. And if you fold a piece of paper once, it quickly gets the habit of folding along the same crease again.
And so you see that it is very important for you to get good habits as boys and girls, for first you make the habits, and then the habits make you.
You have often seen a little brook running along between its banks and over its pebbly bed. Well, once there was no brook-bed there, but gradually, years ago, a little stream began to trickle through, and finally it wore out a bed for itself. Now it cannot leave the bed if it wishes to. That is just what you do when you make a habit: you make a course which you will follow later in life.
First you take the train, then the train takes you. First the stream makes the bed, then the bed guides the stream.
They tell us that after we are thirty years of age we are little more than a bundle of habits. I suppose thirty years seems a long way off for you boys and girls, but you will reach it if you live. And there will be men living somewhere who will hear the name that you boys now have, and you are deciding now by the habits you make what sort of man he is going to be. If you want him to be a good, honorable, strong man, be sure you form good habits now.
For Further Study:
Read Romans 1:28-32, especially verse 32. Even if someone doesn’t practice a sin, approving of that sin is just as evil to God. Read Acts 7:58. Who held the jackets of the men who stoned Stephen? Saul helped the men who stoned Stephen, and was in agreement with them. Now read Acts 8:1-3. What do we soon see him doing to the Christians in Jerusalem? Agreeing with a sin often leads you to doing it. It isn’t safe just to “stand by and watch,” because that can put us in danger of joining. We have to be brave enough to speak up about things that are wrong as soon as we notice them. This may mean not laughing at some people’s jokes, walking out of a movie theater if something bad comes on the screen, and leaving a friend’s house when others start acting wrongly. We have to be prepared to do this because our souls are precious to God. Also, the example of just one brave person may turn others around. Read Ezekiel 3:18-19. What duty do have to those who aren’t obeying God? See also 1 Thessalonians 5:14.
- “No thank you.” “I’d rather not.” “Here’s an idea….” These are all ways that you can quietly and firmly tell others that you’d rather not join them when you suspect trouble will come of it. Can you think of others?