How many times have we heard that “the definition of an idol, is something we esteem more than Christ?”
Do you know how many times I’ve heard the story where Abraham follows God and not his own desires and puts a knife to his very son’s neck? Do you know how many times I’ve read the section of scripture where Jesus asks Simon Peter, “do you love me more than these?” Evidently not enough, because I needed to be reminded of those parts of scripture once again this morning.
Jim Rose is our chapel speaker here at Camp this week. Lately, God has been using the speakers here to point out truths in His Word to me. I know that sounds like a ‘duh’ sentence, but this past summer I really haven’t had the opportunity to sit through most chapels, and now that the summer is winding down it seems like God is making up for lost time in my heart. Which I’m loving.
So this morning, Mr. Rose was reading the story where God calls Abraham to slaughter his son on a mountainside. Isaac was supposed to be the seed in which God fulfilled his promise to Abraham. A promise to build a great nation, a people set apart for God Himself. Then God says to Abraham, “sacrifice him.” Abraham doesn’t say, “but God, you told me something different about Isaac’s future….” he says, “yes Lord.” Abraham and God are so tight, that Abraham knows that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, etc. and it would be against God’s perfect character to change His mind or go back on his promise (God is not a man, that he should lie. Nor a son of man that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?). Abraham trusts God SO MUCH, that he follows His will up to the point of a blade touching his seed’s neck and would have followed through if God had not stopped him.
With this story comes the question, “am I following in Abraham’s footsteps and placing God’s will well above my own?” Most of the time, my cold, ignorant heart would say, “absolutely, I can’t afford not to.”
I’m sure there are more things that I place above God on a daily basis, but this one thing in particular, God chose to convict me of today. I love Africa. There is something deep inside me that breaks when I hear stories of an entire continent of people in poverty. It’s not the statistics that get me, it’s the story of a kid who when asked what he would do with some money, says he’d go to a hospital. Or the single mother’s choice every day: watch her children die of malnutrition or dehydration. Out of all the places in the world to visit, Africa was always on the bottom of the list. A year ago, it was in my mind, the scarriest place on earth. That is how I know that my heart for the African people is 100% of God.
Lately, my heart has been tugged more and more towards Africa. The issue? I have a 3 year commitment to what God is doing on this hillside. A few weeks ago, as I was contemplating my ideas of Africa it hit me that I would not be able to go for some time, and I immediately felt lost. (This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to work here anymore. I love the Adirondacks, Camp and my church family. It just means that my sin got in the way of me seeing that.)
So after putting those thoughts on the back burner for a week or so, I was reminded of them again this morning. God, through His Word, revealed to me that I had placed my dream of serving Him overseas above God Himself. I made Africa an idol, and that stemmed off into other ideas/sin that my time here would be pointless.
I’m such a stupid girl. How often I forget that God is SOVEREIGN and knows what He’s doing in my life. I know those truths, but I often forget to live them.
I read a book my last year of school titled, “From Fear to Freedom” by Rose Marie Miller. She wrote something I frequently think of… “Do I still need the gospel? All the time! I drift as easily as an autumn leaf on a windy day. How does this happen? God will use His Word to impress on my hear exciting truths. With this comes a new willingness to obey him, but after a while the truths will fade, while life goes on. I am left dry, empty, and barren. My life then fills up with unlimited obligations and duties without joy. What do I do? I ask the Holy Spirit to show me where and how I drifted. Then I repent of the sins he reveals to me. By faith I rely on the Holy Spirit to change my heart to turn the tasks of life again to joy.”
For if we have been united with him in death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ we believe that we also live with him. Romans 6:something
For freedom, Christ has set you free. STAND FIRM, therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.. Galatians 5:1
P.S. God used “From Fear to Freedom” and the book of Galatians to change my life. a literal 180 degrees. (check it out ISBN:0877882592)