“Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places.”—1 Kings 3:3
Hilltops often served as “high places” in Canaanite worship. The thought was, the higher you were, the closer you were to your god. In spite of God’s warnings, even his people succumbed to this pagan practice. When it came to Solomon, he may have loved God by walking in the God-pleasing ways of his father David. And yet, the only thing that got in the way of his relationship with God was that he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places.
Although our worship of God is no longer limited to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, we still can be tempted to worship in high places—to follow the true God by climbing the wrong hill. This happens when we maintain a level of godliness that makes cultural instead of biblical Christianity our standard.
Our Christianity is cultural when we deny that Jesus is the only way to God, deny that the Bible is God-inspired or deny Jesus’ way of salvation by doing religious works to pay for our sins. Compared to most Christians, our spiritual life meets the standard. It seems to be the right way. But the only pattern for the Christian life has never been other Christians—it’s Christ.
Returning to the right way to worship begins by answering three questions: First, do I strive to become like Christ or like my Christian culture? Second, do I give my all to Christ—or do I just give what’s necessary to keep up appearances? And third, does my Bible reading, prayer, and other disciplines serve to draw me to Christ—or do they simply sooth my spiritual conscience?