Are You Planted In The Right Place?

Most of us have heard the old saying “bloom where you are planted”. We could probably agree that might mean something like to flourish in whatever place you find yourself. Make the best of where you are.

Good advice I guess. But, what if we are not in the place where God would have us be? Could we truly flourish in that place? Perhaps in some ways. We might think we are. But are we really?

In my opinion I don’t believe we can ever be truly happy or flourishing unless we are walking in the plan of God for us. By that I mean that kind of down deep, soul satisfying peace and contentment you get when you know you are doing what you’re called to do.

Before you read any further, here’s another question for you. Is your desire to be led by the Lord and to walk in His path, greater than your desire to follow your own “perfect” plan for your life? Are you willing to change anything the Lord asks you to change? Or do you prefer to stay in your comfort zone where you feel you have some control over  your life?

If we say we want to follow Jesus,  then are we willing to do as Peter said he and the other apostles did, when he said to Jesus “See, we have left all and followed You.” That may not be what is asked of us. The Lord may have us work right where we are. But would we be willing to do it if He did ask?

God is the one who has the perfect plan for our lives. He sees the end from the beginning. He knows the things He has called us to do, and the places where He has prepared for us to be. Jeremiah 29:11 says “ , For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Although He does have a plan for us, the Lord also gives us free will. It’s up to us whether we choose to follow His plan or not.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Ah, there’s the rub. He said He will direct our paths but it’s when we are doing our part, and acknowledging Him, asking Him to lead us. Not when we are leaning on our own understanding, or our own thinking of what we should do. 

Sometimes we say we want to be led of the Lord but we stay when He says go or we go when He asks us to stay.

Sometimes we are in the wrong place because we made a mistake. Maybe we didn’t ask the Lord whether we were doing the right thing. Or maybe we asked but didn’t wait to hear the answer. We didn’t mean to go off the path. Or perhaps we heard the answer but went ahead and did what we wanted anyway.

What about those times we are in the wrong place because of our own willful disobedience, or maybe we chose to follow our own leading instead of the Lord’s. Or perhaps we left somewhere or someone out of offence? 

Offence has become so rampant in the world today. Take a look at the news. No one can give their opinion, or say anything to anyone it seems, without offence being taken. Matthew 24:10 tells us in the last days this is what will happen. “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” But aren’t we, as Christ followers, supposed to be different than everyone else? 

Yet how many of us have left jobs or marriages, families, friends or churches because we didn’t like the way things were being handled or we didn’t like something someone said? Or maybe even because we didn’t get our own way? I know I’ve been guilty of  some of those things. In some cases, maybe at the time I didn’t know enough to ask the Lord what His thoughts were. Other times I chose not to ask Him because I wanted to do what I wanted and I didn’t want to take a chance He might say no. Sounds childish right? 

Can I just say we don’t have time for any of this mess anymore? There’s work to be done. It’s time for those of  us who want to follow the Lord to get serious, grow up, stand up and get moving. The Lord has things He wants to accomplish and we each have to be in our place to make that happen.

If you are still staying somewhere when the Lord told you to leave then, go! If you’ve left somewhere when that wasn’t what the Lord wanted, then put your pride behind you and go back. If you are right where you are supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing then keep it up! Thanks for being a great example to others.

And if the Lord is calling you out to do new things for Him but you are afraid, then just believe you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, step up and do it! No need to worry. If the Lord asks you to do something, He will give you what you need to get it done.

Why not give Him the best of you today? Does He deserves any less?

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Ruined Lives

Before I begin today’s blog I would like to put in a disclaimer. Some of you may read this blog, or part of it, and click off  angrily and never read another one. Maybe some who know me in person won’t want to speak to me again. Others will have strong opinions and vehemently disagree with me. Others will agree with every word I say because this is the life they are living. I just wanted to share some of my observations on the subject but by no means do I want to insult, accuse or condemn anyone. Having said that….here goes.

I’ve been reading a book this week that is a work of fiction. In the book the main character is a seventeen year old girl. Her mom was a single parent who died of an overdose of drugs and alcohol. The girl then goes to live with her grandfather, whom she had never met. As the plot unfolds we learn more about her life. She had worked from the age of twelve on to help support  herself and her mom as her mother was often out of work due to her issues with alcohol.

Many nights rather than have her mom tucking her in, she was putting her mother to bed because she was passed out on the couch. Later, as she comes to know her grandfather he tells her that at one point in his life he had also had a problem with alcohol, as had his father before him. He is still tormented by the fact that he passed this along to his only child.

Y’all I know this was fiction. But as I read this book I found myself getting really angry. Not angry at people but angry at this enemy that is as old as time. Angry for all the families that have been affected and all the lives that have been ruined. Angry for the lives that have been lost and the things that never came to be because of it.

Although this character was fictional, this kind of scenario plays out every day in our country and many other countries, I’m sure. And often in worse ways. Domestic abuse, children left alone in cars outside of bars, children who carry on the family dysfunction. Families who are forced to keep secrets because they don’t want friends and neighbors to know what is going on in their lives. 

If we were to be in a large audience and asked for a show of hands of those who had someone in their family or close friends effected by alcohol I think we would be stunned by how many people would raise their hands.

Often this curse is carried down through generations. Alcohol was an issue in my house growing up and we had relatives on both sides of my family who had problems. I saw first hand the effect of it. I also lost a cousin to a drunk driver so it affected my family in that way also.

My family was not alone. Years later I found out there were other extended family members with problems in their homes. There were also friends who had problems in their homes that they never talked about. Many times you could see these issues firsthand at parties or family gatherings. Or with neighbors where it was sometimes quite evident. Frightening for children especially.

I realize many of you may be responsible drinkers. You have a beer to relax after a hard day. Or it’s your culture to drink wine with meals. You would never think to get in a car and drive when you had too much to drink. Maybe this blog isn’t for you. Maybe you have never had anyone in your life with alcohol problems.

But what if your friends do? Maybe they drink with you because they see its not a problem in your life, but it might be in theirs. Maybe its something they struggle with when no one is watching. Maybe your children will continue your traditions but in their case circumstances in their lives may cause them to go down that road. Something to think about.

Noah was the first person mentioned in the Bible who planted a vineyard (Genesis 9:20-25). And he got drunk and was naked in his tent. Two of his sons covered his nakedness while one son saw him naked. Whatever happened with that son that day it caused Noah to curse his son’s family line. Alcoholism is still a curse in family lines today.

I knew alcoholism went back at least two generations in my family. I recently found out this was an issue even at least one more generation further back with one of my great grandparents. Who knows how many generations ago this curse started in my family? It’s not something people kept a record of.

Those roots of bitterness that I spoke of in my blog the other day, could it not be that many of these roots can spring up in children growing up in these situations? And would that not then effect the way that they react to others? And the way that they parent their families when they have them?

How many more generations do we want to have go through these things? How many more families will be split apart? How many more children with an absentee parent or perhaps a parent who is there physically but is emotionally unavailable? When will we decide enough is enough? 

It’s heartbreaking to think there are some who are living right now in those kind of situations, and many more who are still trying to overcome the years they spent watching a loved one spiral down the drain.

I don’t expect my blog to change society. Alcohol is so ingrained in our culture today that only the Lord could bring about that kind of change. But maybe somewhere, someday if it causes one person to question themselves before they take that next drink its worth it. Maybe the person who has questioned themselves wondering if they drink too much. Or the one who has had loved ones tell them they are concerned with their drinking. Maybe the one who has noticed the look on their child’s face when they needed them, but instead of being there for them you yelled at or ignored them because you were busy drinking. 

I’m sure there aren’t many people who set out to be alcoholics. No one gets up in the morning with the goal of alienating their loved ones or losing respect among their colleagues or friends. I doubt many purposely set out to cause heartache to their families. 

Alcohol is a sneaky enemy. It starts out as your friend. So warm and fuzzy. A way to have fun and relax. But for some, with the stresses of life or perhaps genetic disposition it turns into something so much more. Something you think you can’t live without. Something that controls your whole life. 

If any of this has rung a bell with you, please. Get help. As someone who decades after the fact still deals with some of these scars in my soul, I can tell you it’s not worth it. Nothing is worth the pain you may cause to those who love you.

If this blog has in any way offended any of you, my apologies. It was a difficult blog to write. I so often think it would be nice to write a lighthearted, helpful blog. But this is what poured out.  Maybe you were meant to read this today. Just a thought.

Bitter Roots and Crabgrass

I was working in my garden the other day pulling up crabgrass. If you have worked on your yard or in your garden, you know what that’s like. You see what looks like a single blade of grass sticking up but when you try to pull it it doesn’t budge. As you dig around you find many tendrils spreading out in different directions. Dig a little further and you find this tangled mess of root ball with shoots going off in all different directions.

To me it seems that bitter roots in our soul could look much like that. Often we may not even realize that ugly old root ball is in there. We may deal with those single blades or issues as they come up and think we are taking care of the problem. But if we don’t get to the root we will continue to have the same issues over and over again in our lives.

The Bible says in Hebrews 12:15 “ looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled”. These bitter roots in our lives have the power to not only continue harming us, but to cause harm to others in our lives and in our interactions with them.

Just like that crabgrass where the roots can be so strong and so stubborn, so too the bitter roots in our lives. If we’re not aware of them, or don’t deal with them they can become like chains. Chaining us to behaviors or attitudes that we may feel we just can’t get free from. Strongholds in our minds.

These bitter roots can come from things that may have happened to us, or been said to us in the past. Maybe even so long ago, we don’t really remember what they were anymore. Yet the damage is still lurking there in our soul. Perhaps it caused a pattern to form in our lives. 

Let’s say someone betrayed our trust at some point in our life. Then, maybe even not consciously, we treat others with suspicion, waiting and believing that they will betray us also. This can keep us from ever having close relationships, even sometimes with the Lord. Then it could even become a self fulfilling prophesy. 

In Romans 7:15 Paul is talking about sin and the law. Can’t it also feel so true when there are things in our lives that we do that frustrates us? “ For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

I believe it is only with the help of the Lord, and His Word that we can finally free ourselves from these things. On our own, we may very much want to change, and even try really hard, sometimes we may even think we have overcome the problem. Then all of a sudden, up pops a situation and you find yourself back in the same old spot. 

This process of getting free can take time. Don’t become discouraged along the way just keep moving on. You may find you deal with one root only to find there is another one behind it. I believe, as long as we remain open to allow the Lord to show us these things, and be willing to repent and to change, we will get the victory.

Find a trusted friend to help you through the process as you go. Someone who will be honest with you and not just tell you what they think you want to hear.  Know that you’re not alone. It may feel like you’re the only one with these issues, but I would venture to say that many Christians struggle with some of these same things.

I am by no means an expert on this subject. Just sharing some insights from things I have been taught or gone through on my own journey.  Which, by the way, is by no means over. But I can say, like Paul in Philippians 3: 12 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

This is a huge subject which affects so many parts of our lives. I have only begun to understand it. If you are interested in learning more on the subject I recommend this book by Jack Frost, that I think I recommended in a previous blog. “Breaking Free” Uprooting Destructive Habits & Thought Patterns. I believe its still available on Shiloh Place Ministries website. There are DVD’s and a manual available. I only had the manual. It was very eye opening. 

 I  started this post a few weeks ago but hadn’t finished it till today. Believe it or not, when I went outside to work on my garden yesterday there were more weeds! More weeds and more crabgrass. Some in the same spot I had pulled them from before! What?  But, I thought I took care of those! I guess it just shows how diligent we have to be to keep on top of these things so we don’t get any more roots! In the garden as well as in our lives.

Hope

Honor Thy Father And Mother

““Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12.  And Ephesians 6:2-3: “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

I have recently begun to get a little bit more revelation on that commandment. To be honest I never really understood all that it meant, and I know there is still a lot more I could learn. Growing up we learned the commandments by rote,  but I don’t recall ever getting much teaching on the subject. 

I guess as a young person, to me honoring your mother and father just meant perhaps being obedient or being respectful. Things that as I hit the teenage years especially, I was not always good at. But there is so much more to honoring than just being obedient. You can be obedient but do it in a wrong way. You could be obedient just so you don’t get in trouble but still not be honoring your parents at all.

I know there are a lot of people who have a really hard time with this commandment. People who may have been raised in a highly dysfunctional family, perhaps with abuse or parents who may have acted in such a way you don’t respect them at all. How are you supposed to show honor to someone like that? 

The thing about it is, this is a commandment from the Lord. Not a suggestion. It made the top 10. The Lord takes it very seriously.  In fact He gave even more instructions when He was giving the law to Moses. In Exodus 21:15 they were told “And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” And Exodus 21:17: “And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” Then in Leviticus 19:3: “Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.”

Nowhere in the Bible does it say honor they father and mother if you feel they deserve it. Or honor them only if you feel like it, and its convenient.

Being rebellious to parents is not something the Lord takes lightly either. Proverbs 30:17: “The eye that mocks his father, And scorns obedience to his mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young eagles will eat it.”

So what can you do if you truly want to be obedient to the Lord, and to receive the promise for honoring your parents, but you have a real problem with figuring out how to do it? First, I would suggest praying about it. Tell the Lord your heart in the matter and the issues you are having. He knows what you have been through. He sees your pain and your struggle. He doesn’t want it to be just lip service from us, He wants our hearts. Then ask the Lord to forgive you for anything you may have done or said that dishonored your parents. 

Honoring is not condoning. If you were abused it was not OK for someone to do that to you. That will be something they will have to answer to the Lord for. 

The Lord can show you what it means to honor your parents. He would not ask us to do it if it were not possible. Perhaps it could include praying for them if they are still alive. Forgiving them. Realize that they, like us, are flawed human beings. We don’t always know what our parents lives were like. Honor them for what they did right. 

What if your parents are dead? Then what? Maybe you were that rebellious child, or you realize you never knew what it meant to honor them when they were alive. I would think many of the same precepts would still be true. Ask the Lord. Repent for not honoring them the way you should have. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Honor their memory. Be thankful for them. 

Maybe your parents are dead and you had a great relationship with them and you did honor them. Well done! Great job. Maybe another way to honor them is to teach your family and others the right way to do this. 

Perhaps you’re just learning about some of this. After all, honor is not a word you hear much about these days. There are some who live by it and teach it to their children but I would venture to say that’s not true for a lot of people.

If you are blessed enough to still have your parents how can you learn to honor them? Love them. Pray for them. Listen to them. Include them in your life. Treat them with respect and teach your children to do the same. If possible spend time with them. This can be hard in these times when families are far apart I know. Skype! Facetime! Let them know that you value them. Forgive them when they do wrong and ask for forgiveness when you mess up. Teach your children these principles so they too may receive the promise.

Just some thoughts I had when thinking about this subject. I am by no means an expert on the wrong and right way to do it. My parents are both deceased. I have to learn myself how the Lord wants me to honor them. Go to God for His answers. He is our loving Father and we are showing honor to Him when we obey Him with what He asks and we honor our parents. We want to leave a legacy to future generations so our family lines will know how to do relationships right so they can also be blessed.

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Do You Murmur?

I know I sure do sometimes. There’s a whole host of things we might murmur about. The weather, our jobs, our bosses, our churches, our families, our neighbors, what’s on TV, poor service, money etc. I could go on and on.

Sometimes we murmur because it just seems normal. Everyone else is doing it. You stop at the grocery store and the conversations around you might be something like, hot enough/cold enough for you? Man, is it ever going to stop/start raining? Can you believe the price of groceries? Why do they never have enough registers open? You know how we can get caught up in those conversations.

I guess in today’s language we would say we complain. We grumble. We mutter, we gripe, we moan, we whine. Ever do that? Or is it just me?

What makes us do it? A critical spirit? Perhaps. Sometimes it’s because we are just plain ungrateful. Other times we may be caught up in a group of people who are griping and complaining. Co-workers or family members perhaps, one person starts complaining and everyone else has to join in with their complaints and opinions.

We are certainly not the first to gripe. The Bible has lots of examples of those who murmur. Yesterday I was reading in Exodus, about the Israelite’s murmuring and complaining to Moses because they had no water and no food. Seems like a legitimate complaint. How many of us would keep silent if we and our children were hungry and thirsty? Then I read Exodus 16:8: “Also Moses said, “This shall be seen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”

Wow. That puts it in a different light. When we complain that things are not the way we want them, or we don’t have what we want, or feel we need, or should have, we are complaining against God. We are saying You have not provided for me well enough. You have not done the things that I want you to do. Like we somehow know better than God. I’m not sure. Perhaps it was the way the Israelite’s complained. They didn’t trust God to provide, even after all He had done for them. Instead of just asking Him for provision, they complained. 

One problem with complaining is we can drag others down into it with us. We want others to know what injustice has been done to us, so we murmur and complain. The problem is this can lead to gossip. And we know the Lord hates gossip. We can lead others to sin. Then they may go and share what you told them about this person or that situation and the gossip continues on. 

We can also be sowing discontent among others. We start complaining about our job or our family or our church, and those who never had a problem with those things all of sudden start seeing only faults. Now they are looking at people and situations in light of what we may have complained about, not the way they saw it before.

Proverbs 6 talks about the seven things the Lord hates, and one of them is one who sows discord among brethren. (Prov 6:19). Is that what we set out to do? Most of the time this was never our intent when we started complaining. We wanted sympathy, or understanding. Someone to agree with us. We were unhappy and we wanted others to know it. Our intent was not to sow discontent or to gossip. Yet it might have happened anyway.

That does not mean that sometimes we will not have legitimate complaints about situations. But instead of complaining to others around us, we need to take our complaint to the one its about, or to someone who can fix the problem. Sometimes, all we are supposed to do is pray about it and keep it to ourselves.

The Lord knows our weaknesses and He knows that sometimes we will be in situations that are unfair or unjust. And He knows that sometimes we will be unhappy about things in our lives. Instead of murmuring to others, we can go to Him as it says in Psalm 62:8: “Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”. 

We can trust God that if something needs to be worked out He will help us. Yet, there are also times the Lord has us in a particular place, or in a particular situation because He wants us to learn something. Or, He wants to work something out of us that is not pleasing to Him. As long as we continue to gripe and complain instead of trusting the Lord we will stay in the same place. And who wants that?

Thankfully, we don’t have to stay the way we are. We have God’s Word to renew our minds and change us. I love 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. And Hebrews 4:12: “ For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Let’s let the Word start doing it’s work in us today. 

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What’s That You Say?

I was thinking about my Mom yesterday and some of her crazy sayings. My mom had more sayings than Carter had liver pills. In fact she had more than you could shake a stick at! Lol. Suffice to say she had a bunch. Some she made up, but many of the sayings she used were probably as old as the hills.

It’s funny when I think about it, because although she died 13 years ago, when we her children and grandchildren get together we still laugh about it as we use many of those sayings and remember her. They have become part of our family history. Things that we say without even thinking about it.

Then I thought about some of the other types of sayings we all use, or have used probably during our lives. Things we also may say without even thinking. Just harmless sayings we may think. But are they?

What are we really doing when we say things like my feet (or any other body part) are killing me, or it, or you, or she or this situation is making me crazy.  Or any number of variations on that theme. What about when we make statements like oh, I get the flu every year and I know I’ll get it again this year. Or, all the men in my family died by such and such and age so I’m sure I will too. Our words have creative power. Are those the things we want to create?

Do you find yourself sometimes using sayings that were said to you as a child? Things that perhaps fostered a poverty mindset or a mindset of lack? Sayings like, money doesn’t grow on trees. Or, what, do you think we’re made of money? Our words are seeds. What kind of things would grow from seeds like that planted in a child? Not ones we would like to plant I think. 

Just look at the work we are saving the enemy if we are cursing ourselves and others with our words. He can just sit back and laugh and watch as we get what we speak. Just listen sometimes to the things people say without a thought in the world as to the power of their words.

We laugh and we joke about sayings and meme’s we see on Facebook about aging or relationships or any number of things. By laughing and saying to one another, that’s so true, are we coming into agreement with those things for our own lives? Before we pass it along do we think, is this something we really want to be true for our lives or our friends lives? 

So many verses in the Bible warn us about our words. Matthew 12:36 says “ But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” Or Colossians 3:8 ” But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” Something to think about. We may not always think much about the way we speak but it is important to the Lord. 

What about the words we use to speak about others? The things that we may call the driver that cut in front of us in traffic, or the things we say about politicians or people in the public eye with whom we disagree? Just because they aren’t there does that give us the right to say what we want about them? Will we want to give an account of those words one day?

What about when we hear parents say things to their children like, you’re a slob or you’ll never amount to much. You’re going to end up in jail one day. He/she is just like their father/mother (and not in a good way). What kind of seeds are being planted in those situations? Then when these children get older and become what was spoken over them the parents wonder what could have happened to cause such a thing. 

No wonder James had this to say about the tongue, “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” James 3:8-10.

I was reading someone else’s blog recently about words. He said he was in his car one day and someone near him almost caused an accident. He was alone in the car and called the person an idiot. He figured it was no big deal as no one was there to hear him. But the Lord did. He said immediately he felt the Lord say to him in his spirit “I have created no one—no human being—by that description”. Yikes.

How easily we sometimes make those offhand comments about another person. We forget that the Lord created them also and He loves them. When I think of the things I may have said about others in the past it makes me cringe. I’m so thankful that when we do say something we realize we shouldn’t have, we can go to the Lord and repent and He will forgive us.

He can also help us in our battle to watch what we say. We can ask Him daily to do what Psalm 141:3 says. “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” Or Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

I have also found it helpful to give my family and close friends permission to point out to me anytime I am speaking a curse over my life or over anyone else. To be held accountable. 

The Lord warns us so many times about our words because He knows what can come of us speaking things we shouldn’t. He wants us to be sowing good with the words of our mouths so we can blessed. Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

We have the choice of what to speak. May we learn to think before we speak and speak only that which is good and true. Its tough sometimes I know. After all, old habits die hard. For those who may say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, the good news is, that only applies to dogs! 

 

 

 

Idols

Often when we hear the word idol we think of statues that are worshiped by other cultures, or altars dedicated to false gods. While those things may be true, those are not the only things that can be idols.

I have been taught that an idol is anything that we put ahead of God. Something that we spend more time doing or thinking about, something we treat with more value. It could be different for everyone. For some it might be endlessly watching their favorite sport or just watching TV. Pornography. Video games, Facebook, shopping, junk food etc. Our relationships could become our idols. Maybe our relationship with a spouse or significant other, or family members. People pleasing can be a big idol in our lives.

Though some of those things are always bad, most of those things are not bad on their own. But anything we magnify ahead of God can become idols in our lives. In the 1913 version of Webster’s dictionary one of the definitions of an idol is “That on which the affections are strongly (often excessively) set; an object of passionate devotion; a person or thing greatly loved or adored.”

I believe that if we are constantly thinking (worrying) about a situation whether it may be family relationships or jobs or finances or what have you, it can be setting those things up as an idol in your life. I know there have been times, even recently, that I have done this in my own life. If we are constantly worrying about a situation are we not magnifying that problem above God? As if it’s greater than God?

When we are in that situation, where we are constantly worrying, we are in essence fearing that this problem is something that the Lord cannot possibly work out. We fear things will never change. Maybe we entertain all kinds of scenarios in our heads as to what we think will happen, or we think things we should not be thinking, instead of taking our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.

The Word says in 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 

It is not that the Lord doesn’t want us to enjoy our lives, nothing could be further from the truth. John 10:10 tells us “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Yes, He wants us to have abundant life but God wants to be first in our hearts and lives not just an afterthought. 

Those other things that we put ahead of God and seek after are not really what our soul is desiring. The Lord made us so we would seek Him. He longs to have us fellowship with Him. Acts 17:27: “ for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.” How then could anything else take that place in our lives?

Why is it that we hold so tightly to some of those other things? For some, perhaps they don’t know the Lord or the value of a personal relationship with Him and with Jesus. Or perhaps they think there’s no rush, they want to enjoy their lives now and wait and turn to the Lord before they die (bad idea by the way). For others of us could it sometimes be fear again? Fear that if we don’t have enough wealth or power or fame or popularity or love, then maybe there’s something wrong with us and maybe we are just not good enough?

What we fail to realize is that the one thing that we are made for and the thing that would give us the most joy, putting God first, is the thing we sometimes think of last, if we think of it at all. 

When we listen to the lies of the enemy, or the flesh that tell us we don’t have time to seek God, or, God doesn’t mind if I just keep Him in His little box so He doesn’t really affect my life, we are being stolen from. Robbed of a relationship with the one true God, robbed of the peace and the joy that that would bring to our lives. Robbed of the happiness we could have following the path He has for us, instead of the one we may think will bring us happiness. 

john-3-16

Is there anything in our lives more important than that?