Boletim dos Obreiros

Asa - Example of an Authentic Spiritual Life

"Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD"
2 Chronicles 14:2

There is no denying that the Christian panorama of our days presents, in many areas of performance, a context of wanting spirituality. This negative situation of current Christianity is recognized and proclaimed by competent Evangelical leaderships.

Pondering on this fact I came across a worthy example of remarkable spirituality in the times gone by of the old Israelite monarchy: king Asa of Judah (2 Chronicles 14:1-8). We know from the Scriptures that the general context of the Israelite religious deportment was deplorable, both in the kingdom of Israel as that of Judah, because of the absence of spirituality of their leaderships. Few were the kings who corresponded with the standard determined by God for the exercise of their important functions. For this reason there was chaos and it reached all the Israelite community.

Verse 2 of the above text defines the spirituality of Asa with a remarkable definition of his manner of being and performing as a king: "Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD". What an extraordinary example of authentic spiritual life! We initially point out three marks of this positive example:

A – Concerned with the exercise of goodness: "did what was good".

The Lord Jesus asserted that "No one is good but One, that is, God." (Luke 18:19). Truly, human being is in no condition to exert "goodness" in its true concept because of his sinful nature. But in Christ, through the working of the Holy Spirit, in and through us, we are enabled to manifest "goodness", undeniable evidence of spirituality.

This is why Paul, in Galatians 5:22, states that "goodness" is one of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit. "Goodness" is not to be confused with exhibitionist and formal philanthropic practices, lenience towards errors deserving reproach, omission of necessary disciplinary actions, and many other attitudes masqueraded as "goodwill" or practices of false love, generally adopted to attend to personal interests for other motives.

To be "good" according to the example of King Asa is to act with sincerity and without ostentation, as if God Himself had been acting through us. It is to conduct oneself under the total control of the Spirit of God who lives within us. When we pursue this type of attitude, the true "goodness" manifests itself and spirituality is evidenced in our behaviour. See the example of Paul: Philippians 1:21, according to Romans 7:19.

B – Concerned with the exercise of righteousness: "he did what was … right".

The detail of the example of spirituality of King Asa pointed out there is his concern to act, in everything, with "righteousness". It is an expression of legal connotation of the greatest importance. "Right" is that which exactly corresponds to the correct measure, which means it is strictly within the correct standard. It is what is "just". Only God is just, because only God acts in absolute "justice".

"Justice", in the Bible, has a sense of what corresponds, rigorously, to the standard of behaviour established by God. Sin has "disadjusted" us and made us "unjust". But, by the grace of God, through the work of justice carried out by Jesus Christ on Calvary, where He received the punishment of our sins (Isaiah 53, work of Redemption), we are declared "just" when we believe (Romans 5:1, justified by faith) e enabled to the practice of justice, by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit which inhabits us. It is the exercise of the Sovereign will of God in everything we do, rigorously acting within His standard in our Christian life, for us to evidence spirituality.

God does not want us to be "religious". He wants us to be "spiritual". What a worthy example of spirituality is Asa to us, doing only what was right! To do what is right is to act within the strict will of God. See the teaching of Paul in Romans 12:1-2 – experience of the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.

C – Concerned in being well appraised by God: "in the eyes of the LORD"

Asa was different from many kings who led the Israelites, who acted more concerned in satisfying temporal interests than God. They ignored the fact that they were before God and that it is God, after all, Who evaluates and judges human behaviour. Asa acted always conscious that he was before God and that it was to God that he would have to give account (Romans 14:12). This stimulated him to pay maximum attention to the manner in which he acted. Human evaluation did not matter to him, but divine. This is the other remarkable mark of spirituality.

We must always bear in mind that we will come before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10). Let us always act according to the laudable example of spirituality of Asa, conscious that we are always acting before God, by Whom we are going to be evaluated and judged and to Whom we are going to give account.

Having seen these three marks of the example of the spirituality of Asa, we note four aspects of his behaviour as king:

1 – Rooted out idolatry (vs. 3-5). Incontestable evidence of his spirituality: to totally finish with the idolatry of the people. See the verbs which describe his bruising attitude: "broke down" and "cut down". God is absolute and exclusive and does not admit of other cults and devotions strange and competitive to Him. We must examine ourselves and, conscious and determinedly root out any trace of idolatry we may be sheltering. See Psalm 16:2-4.

2 – He commanded them to seek the LORD God of their fathers (v. 4). God must be a priority in our life. Asa did not allow deviations by the people in the search of necessary supports for their achievements. Many times we forget to seek the Lord, losing ourselves in the entanglement of our own proposals of solutions, to which we resort because we mistakenly judge them to be valid and, because of this, we impair our spirituality. See Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 37:5.

3 – He commanded them to observe the Word of God (v. 4). For the spirituality of Christian life, permanent concern for the ruling of the Word of God is indispensable. This was the serious guidance of God to Joshua for him to be successful in his important mission of conquest of the land by the people of Israel under his command (Joshua 1:7-8). And it worked! See Psalm 119:11,97-105.

4 – He built secure, fortified cities in Judah (vs. 6-8). We shall not be able to manifest spirituality with the weakness of our spiritual resistance. Paul recommends us to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and in the strength of His power (see Ephesians 6:10-18, the armour of God). God does not want us to be unprotected and provides us with all the resources necessary for victory. But it behoves us to appropriate such resources for ourselves and to use them adequately. Peter's exhortation goes this way: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8).

Conclusion: In the worthy example of spirituality of Asa, we verify the "result" in extraordinary blessings: REST, PEACE AND PROSPERITY (vs. 6-8). Let us follow his example of authentic spiritual life in order to also enjoy the same blessings.