15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17
As maturing Christians, we understand that our focus should be on Jesus. Like the peeling of an onion, we stip away the layers of gunk from our lives that distract us from his call to love and be disciples of all nations.
As his face becomes clearer and his voice more familiar, we courageously start to see our sin [our shortcomings and areas in which we’ve greatly missed the mark] in plain site.
Our need for Jesus becomes real and extremely personal [why Jesus had to not only die, but for US… for me, personally] and on many accounts, for the very first time, we’re find ourselves on our knees in true repentance.
I believe it’s in this place that God can truely begin his work in us. We see our brokeness as it is, our hearts begin to break open wide and our vulnerability, like a child, seeks the comfort and healing of our father.
3 He said, “For sure, I tell you, unless you have a change of heart and become like a little child, you will not get into the holy nation of heaven. 4 Whoever is without pride as this little child is the greatest in the holy nation of heaven. Matthew 18: 3-4
Humility welcomes change and as Children of God, he wants to transform us and renew our minds- to create in us a new heart that loves as he does, give us new eyes to see the world as he does and begin a renovation project in the home in which he dwells in each of us personally.
He refines us, like a gem stone sent through fire, into an image that reflects and resembles Christ himself and sparkles in the light of day.
As we journey with the Lord, trusting him with more of our deepest selves and giving over our lives to him, we acknowledge the things that have for so long, kept us from him and stolen our attention from the one who’s most important. Our idols [anything we place on a pedistal and seek, desire or praise before our Lord] begin to show themselves and we come to understand the jealousy our father has for us.
As a society we’ve become slaves to this world. We tend to see and work to rid ourselves of idolatry in it’s obvious forms, like selfishness, greed, gossip, material possessions and the need to be recognized.
Many times, however, we fail to see the sometimes bigger things that keep us from deeper intimacy with our God…
Our pride. Our need to succeed. Our obsession with control [which is the biggest oxymoron of all] and many times, our desperate need for approval.
Approval is a scary thing because it creeps in and disguises itself in seemingly harmless ways:
trying to fit in with the women at church
sitting back as people slander the Christian faith, the church and Jesus’ name
keeping our faith to ourselves
omitting our “sunday selves” from our “weekday selves”
hanging out and doing things that contradict our moral values, because we’d otherwise “never see anyone”
being lukewarm on a public platform and in our careers, for fear of facing advertisty or harsh critics
and most unrecognized….. the deep routed and desperate pursuit of approval from our families- as women, particularly our mothers- and friends. Anyone with me?
“Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple. Luke 14:26
Too often, we seek the acceptance of our moms, our friends and our communities, before the very one who saved us and loves us more than anyone ever could! He accepts us exactly as we are; no need to change, impress, or be approved of!
You shall have no other Gods, only me! Exodus 20:3
While you might say approval is not a god, it’s pursuit is certainly an idol; one thats keeps us in bondage, endlessly chasing after it. We become slaves to it and it dictates the very things we do and how we do them!
God might call us to move across the country, leave our cushy corprate job to help the homeless or share our faith boldly with our families but we reject HIM, ignoring his call, in fear of rejection from THEM!
This sin eats away at us. This sin, my friend is slavery!
We struggle to justify our wrong and avoid God when we most need to confess. But, he is always ready to forgive. Because nothing we gain from sin is ever worth keeping, when it keeps us enslaved and bound up before him. We need to trade our yoke of slavery for his yoke of freedom and liberty!
While it’s easy to say and hard to live, we’ll soon realize:
The things we fear most in letting go of are the very things that hold us back…
from true transformation, from our personal call in life, from lasting joy and from freedom- the freedom that Jesus so willingly died for, as a gift. And my friend, it’s time we take it.
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:30