Monday, July 16, 2012

Heart to Heart: Displaced Devotion

I was listening to a webcast recently from Kyle Idleman and he talked about the subject of idols. (You know, all of those things that we make equal to or place above God?) And he shared a statement that sent shock waves through me. He said that we tend to take Christ off of the throne and put him on a loveseat with our idols. Think about that picture for a minute. We're talking about the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe, the Almighty Savior who died for you and I. We've removed Him from His rightful throne and told him to share a couch with our sin. Or for some of us, we put that something or someone else in His place on the throne and don't even give Him a seat in our hearts at all.

What is it that you treasure most? What do you get the most joy out of? What is it that you spend the majority of your time focused on?  Is it a relationship? Money? Your career? Sex? Food? A sports team? Your appearance? Success? Pleasure? Who or what are you looking towards to satisfy you? What is it in your own life that you are putting before God? What are you making more valuable than Him? We can all fill in the blank with something that we have chosen to be first in our lives instead of God. I know I can. I unfortunately have put many things above him lately. But when I take an honest look into my own life, I can clearly see where my priorities have been grievously displaced. I have been asking these other things to do for me, what only God can do for me. I gave control over to these other passions and turned my worship from God  towards these lesser substitutes expecting to be satisfied.

Truth is that none of these things we put before God can save us. None of them can truly satisfy us. And none of them even compare to His glory. There is nothing wrong with enjoying things like relationships, success, etc. but it is when we allow these things to take center stage - to be the main focus in our lives - that is when they become idols and therefor are a distraction from God. We start to worship the gift instead of the Giver. Instead of allowing these gifts to enhance a deeper devotion to the One who blessed us with them in the first place we worship the gifts instead of God who gave them to us. God also gave us free will to choose where we place our devotion. And it is a decision we all must make for ourselves.

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. -Joshua 24:15

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Heart to Heart: A Life Intended

Self-reflection is essential for personal growth. It is important for us to take an honest, introspective look at our own lives. Why? So that we can have a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses as well as our purpose and goals. Too often we look to others as our comparison scale to see where we measure up, but it's really not fair to compare. Each of us are uniquely designed for an individual purpose and trying to fill another person's mold that we were not designed for is like a fish trying to climb a tree...we weren't created for that. The fact that we can't be like someone else doesn't make us more or less worthy, or talented, or desirable, it simply means we haven't embraced your ability to swim. We haven't acknowledged who we are and what we are capable of.

When we stop comparing ourselves to others and recognize our own natural, God-given purpose, then we will begin to live the fulfilling life that we were designed for...the life that God intended for us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 
-Jeremiah 29:11

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