Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Heart Check

Everytime I read the Old Testament there is a part of me that wonders what on earth these people were thinking. And when I see the things they were doing that went against God, there is a part of me that judges them and just wants to hold up an "L" on my forehead. I mean, they worshipped idols of stone and wood. Seriously? How does that even make sense? Especially when you factor in all the things they saw God do with their eyes! Manna from heaven in the wilderness? Parting the Red Sea to cross on dry land? How dumb can you possibly be?

That is until you realize you do the exact.same.things. No, I don't have wooden or stone images I bow to. But when you are bold enough to pray that God would reveal to you the idols you do worship and then you go to the bathroom and see the scale on the floor? Pretty convicting.

And as you continue to read about what they did that is summed up as not getting rid of vile images or the idols of Egypt you think, "Oh, not a problem here!" Except it is. And a big one.

I would say that the vile images are anything that do not: point to, honor, glorify, reflect, or credit God; or anything that does minimize, question, destroy, or insult His intentions. I mean, if I'm looking at my workout trainer and wanting her body more than my own? That's a problem.

And those idols of Egypt? Considering Egypt is the symbol of slavery for God's people, I'd equate its idols to anything that is assumed to bring freedom or equality but instead brings slavery and measured value of human determination. Enjoy that one. #CalorieCounting

But that's not all. God also mentions in His list of grievances their evil ways and corrupt practices. Our evil ways are simply anything that we elevate and desire above God. That never leads to anything good. But corrupt practices? This one caught me off guard considerably when I realized they are simply the things we do that twists what is not of God to make it seem like it is. Oh, you want to do that because it will bring God glory? Check your heart honey, because your true motives are completely selfish.

And the worst part is that God gives us everything we need to be successful! "I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, by which the person who obeys them will live." (Ezekiel 20:11) This isn't just about following the rules, this is the living of the abundant life Jesus came to give us not one bound up, tied up, messed up, and stuck to things that will never bring us wholeness, completion, or joy.

But God is so good! He says, "Go and serve your idols, every one of you! BUT AFTERWARD you will surely listen to me and no longer profane my holy name with your gifts and idols.....You will know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name's sake and NOT according to your evil ways and corrupt practices."

I don't know why this is so hard for me to get! I keep telling myself I want things for the right reasons, but the truth is, my heart is still so divided! And there is nothing, in my own strength, that I can do about it. The reality is God is more interested in a healthy heart and mind than He is in a number on a scale. And until I can truly accept and believe that, I don't want Him to give me what I say I am working towards. Because gaining the world and losing my soul is completely not worth it.

I want to challenge you to ask God to reveal what your vile images are. Ask Him to show you what your evil ways and corrupt practices look like. Be bold to approach Him because you aren't going to find condemnation. On the contrary you will find grace and mercy to help you in your time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) And when we lay it all down and submit it to Him, and let His authority give us the next steps, maybe then we can truly offer our lives as holy and living sacrifices to the praise, honor, and glory of His name. (Romans 12:1)

Lord, I don't know how many times I need to get this wrong before I'll get it right, but if You're still pointing it out, I can only believe it's because You haven't given up on me. I pray that You would help us all grasp what You have for us and accept that it is more than we could ever want or imagine for ourselves. We love you and we want our desires to match Yours. Amen.

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