I AM a Jealous God. 1 John 2:15-17

“People do what they want to do.” 

There is a saying that “people do what they want to do.”  We think that priorities are on a

Drop one and your considered a failure.

Drop one and your considered a failure.

vertical plane.  No excuses, we just do what we think is most important to us and we tend to let every other area slide into disrepair (health and family are usually the first to go).  We deceive ourselves when we say that “we wanted to do the thing that was asked of us, but something came up”, but in reality, we always do what was most important to us.  But God gives us all of our responsibilities on a horizontal plane to be managed simultaneously in balance.  We would consider a Juggling artist to be a failure dropping one plate considering it to be less important.  God does this in this fashion so that in every area of life, He must be the one who controls and gives us success in them as we trust him.  When we don’t, then life falls apart.  We just drop our responsibilities according to their lack of importance to us.  However, God desires our busy lives to be balanced with him in the center of and glorified through them all.  He keeps the balls in the air for us.  when we let the world’s values crowd out God, then He allows these areas of responsibility to seem to fall apart and like balls in the air, not even the best juggler can keep them up and everyone knows it.

Do Not Love the World

1 John 2:15      Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our trademark question below in the following way…

 Who Are You Lord?

I AM the God who wants you to live with me forever starting in this life, not just after you die.  What do you want to do?  There are many things that vie for your attention, shiny things that you want, activities to fill your time; all of which make you more comfortable in this life and take your love away from me.  Many of these false priorities will make you less useful to me in what I desire for you.  And most of which deter you further from pursuing your love for me.  Don’t be like Esau who, for a single meal sold his birth right; or Demas who left Paul’s side in the work for the love of the world.  Remember that I warned the Children of Israel not to forsake me when they entered the Promised Land.  Your faith is more important than the stuff of this earth or life itself.  This life lasts for such a short time and eternity is so long, so weigh out what is most important. Satan was successful in distracting Adam from what was truly important, so he will distract you too.

I AM the God who gives you all things for your life and enjoyment, but not to master you.  When I am your God, they can be used for your pleasure in this life, but when they become your gods, there will be problems in your life, for I AM a Jealous God.  Do not be so enamored by my gifts to you that you forget me – the giver.  “…Physical pleasure, … everything you see, …your achievements and possessions…” all these things can be blessings from my hand to make you successful and happy in this life, but when you don’t seek me first with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, these will become sin in your life, and the result is that you will “forsake your first love”.  “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things (which the gentiles crave) will be added to you,” Because I know your real needs before you even ask.

Don’t confuse the comforts of this life with our real home

In the world, it seems that the spot light is always on us, our selfish nature makes everything about us – our desires, our glory, our happiness;  me, me, me.  Advertising capitalizes on that fact.  “You’re number one.”  Have it your way.”  “Be all that you can be.” We are very susceptible to this because of our sin natures – we cannot even recognize it; “the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?”   Nor do we want to change it.  Depending upon who is on the throne of our life, we are walking either in the power and glory of the flesh – for our own pleasure; or the power and glory of God – for his pleasure.

Does my life portray God’s heart?

What does God desire from us?  What does living for God look like?  Does my life portray that?  There are many “shiny” things in this world to capture our attention and distract us from God.  We need to ask ourselves if each activity or possession will enhance or detract from God’s will and glory in our lives.  As mentioned above, there are many neutral objects and activities in which we can participate for our enjoyment because of God’s graciousness to us.  I will paraphrase what one person wrote:  “There are many nice hotels along the highways of life, but we should not consider any one of them our home.”  One translation puts it like this, “these loves for the things of the world can actually squeeze out our love for the Father.”   If these lead us to boasting and craving more, then we can be sure we have crossed the line which leads to idolatry.

Are we drawing nearer, staying stationary or retreating in our relationship with God? 

This is what core values are made of.  This is what your world view is made of.  This determines your outlook on life and usefulness to the Lord and his kingdom.  Maybe this is what Paul said in his statement “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ Phil 3:8 NIV”.  We cannot sit on our past glories nor can we wallow in regret over past failures.  Everyday has its distractions which we need to overcome in order to draw nearer and nearer to God.  Thus we need to evaluate each activity and possession to see what we need to do to make God’s glory a reality through us.  And when our lives get too full of things and we drop certain balls, make sure they are the ones labeled “T.V., Computer Games, boozing with the boys, and pastimes that detract from God’s presence and glory in your life”.

More to come,

Steve

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About strostrud

Missionary with New Tribes Mission since 1989
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