Faith Self-Management

When What I Want Crowds Out God

“These are just the beginning of all that He does, merely a whisper of His power. Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of His power?”  -Job 26:14

How can you read that verse and not be blown away by how amazing our Heavenly Father is? Honestly, read it again and really soak in the descriptive words that the author uses. Other translations say “these are mere fringes” or “these are only hints” of God’s power.

I love that imagery! Everything we have seen and everything we know about our Lord is barely anything. It is a “mere whisper” of what and who He really is. Just typing this is making my heart stir! This is the kind of Truth that can’t be ignored! I dare you to read that verse out loud and not get excited!

This verse came to me as I struggled through these past weeks. You see, the Lord has given me a servant’s heart so that I can show others His goodness through my deeds. What happens sometimes though is that I take that gifting and start using it without His guidance. And it isn’t for things that the world would call evil; but if we aren’t listening to how the Lord wants us to use His gifts, then we will abuse them, or try and claim glory for ourselves, or burn out and reject that gift.

Louder Than the Holy Spirit!?

For me, work has been steadily ramping up these past few weeks. The workload has been increasing while not everyone is back to work due to social distancing restrictions. As such, I have started taking more and more things onto my plate that I haven’t been called to. This has led to stress, anxiety, and bitterness in me. And those feelings keep running around in my head. Then they make their way to my heart as I dwell on them. Eventually, I start listening to those voices, and I allow them to grow louder than the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Defining Idolatry

Once that happens, God is no longer the biggest thing in my life. I have let my situation take His place, and that is idolatry. Now it might not seem like idolatry in the typical sense. I haven’t carved a wooden statue of stress and sung songs to it. But the definition of idolatry, pure and simple, is anything that takes God’s place as number one in your life. Anything that you focus on more than God. Anything that runs unchecked in your mind that you dwell on more than your other desires or responsibilities. And that can be negative things, like stress, but it can also be positive things like a girlfriend, or a spouse, or a child. ANYTHING that we pursue in our hearts more than our Heavenly Father is idolatry.

So what does idolatry have to do with a Bible verse talking about God’s power?

One of the biggest reasons we let other things take God’s place in our hearts is because we turn our eyes away from Him and let the things of this world grow bigger. We dwell on that “impossible” situation, which feeds our anxiety. We spend all our time and energy being the perfect worker, or boyfriend, or husband, or father, that we don’t have any time to spend with our Heavenly Father. We let a certain sports season dictate our schedule so much that we neglect going to church, or meeting with our brothers, or even reading our Bibles. We know that none of these things even come close to the wonder and magnitude of our Maker, but when we feed them they grow. And these idols will grow larger than God in our hearts, unless we take them before our Father and offer them as a sacrifice saying “I want you more, Lord.”

I Want You More, Lord!

Now, we hear that phrase and it scares us, it confuses us. Does that mean I should slack at my job? Does that mean I should ignore my kids? Does that mean I shouldn’t have hobbies and interests outside of God?

The answer to all of the questions is a simple no. God created the world and everything in it. He gives us good gifts. He brings things into our life that bring us joy. But it is when we forget the Giver and focus on the gift that we need to check ourselves. Like when God called Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac “whom he loved”. Abraham had to check his heart and see who was the most important thing in his life. And the beautiful thing about that story is that once Abraham chose God, then God provided. Isaac was spared. Nothing physically changed in Abraham’s life, but his heart was confidently set with God as the absolute center. God was the biggest thing in his life.

Put into Practice:

1. Take some time this week and reflect. Think about everything that is going on in your life. What is the number one thing that your mind wanders to? Is it a certain person that you long to see? Is it a sport or hobby or activity that is capturing your heart? Is it your current situation that is overwhelming any other thought? Is it anything that could be bigger than God in your life?

2. Next, take that thought and give it to God. Pray and offer it to Him as a sacrifice. Set in your heart that you want God more than anything else in this world. Then allow Him to work. And don’t be discouraged if this obsessive thought keeps coming back; instead, keep praying and taking it to God because then you will be guiding your thoughts to Him and increasing His presence in your life.

Now, He may call you to cut something you really love out of your life. Or He may give it back to you. Either way, trust that your Heavenly Father loves you, desires good things for you and knows what He is doing. Because I guarantee that no matter how much we see of God in this life, it is but the tiniest whisper of how amazing He really is!

Warrior On!

Casey Perkins

Casey Perkins has been in the church his whole life. However, that did not prevent him from going down a path of perversion, adultery, self-indulgence, and isolation. Thankfully, like all prodigal sons, the Lord chased after Casey even when he was a long way off and welcomed him back with open arms and unconditional love. Casey's primary purpose now is to live out the mantle that God has placed on him and lead other men into the grace and calling that the Heavenly Father has given us all.

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