“God is always there for you to come home to.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 4, 2022
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
When I came to Christ, no one warned me that other loves would sometimes tug on my heart during seasons of disappointment. I had no idea that my reaction to an unfulfilled desire or dream could threaten my love relationship with Christ. I also didn’t expect I would sometimes feel like straying from the God who is worthy of all my praise.
And I didn’t anticipate that God would relentlessly chase me—in spite of my wanderings. His persistent pursuit has amazed me and sometimes brought me to tears. In the Bible, this same passion for me—and you—is represented in His relationship with Israel, an adulterous nation who all too often served other gods and practiced pagan religions.
As I’ve sometimes been, Israel was unfaithful to a love that would never let her go. But God still pursued.
The third chapter of Jeremiah is a beautiful picture of this pursuing love. Four times in fifteen verses, God says, “return to me,” after His people have wandered and “committed adultery” with idols (verse 9). Only a man who truly loves his wife asks her to come back after she has repeatedly cheated on him. This is the kind of love God has for me. It’s the kind of love He has for you.
When we allow anything to become more important to us, it becomes an idol and God says, “Return to me.” Heaven holds its breath as He waits for our return. All that’s required is the sincere desire to renew our relationship with Him.
Anything we want too much has the potential of threatening our relationship with God. Through our desperate, demanding desires, Satan can lead us to messy places where idols deceive us. There’s nothing wrong with God-given dreams, hopes, and desires. There’s nothing wrong with wanting, but when what we want isn’t submitted to Christ, when our relationship with Him doesn’t top our list of desires, it can lead to personal devastation.
Any affection can become an idol that rules us if we allow it a place of prominence in our lives. We can’t fully embrace God and an idol simultaneously.
In Jeremiah 2:11 we’re cautioned that when we embrace an idol there is always an “exchange” that takes place. We trade full relationship with God, our Glory, for a little god that’s not a god at all, for something worthless and empty.
In describing Judah’s departure from God to chase idols, God says, “Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror” (Jeremiah 2:12).
Can you imagine the heavens, all the angels, God, and Jesus shuddering at this exchange of Glory for emptiness? Can you imagine all of heaven gasping, “Oh, no! How awful! Look at what’s happening! They’re trading God for that? For that little, worthless, nothingness of a god?” When we exchange God for an idol, it’s an exchange that horrifies the heavens. There is no way to fully love God and embrace an idol simultaneously. It’s impossible.
God wants to give you and me the abundant life that comes from intimately knowing Him and putting Him first in your life.
“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39).
Lord, help me to always put you first in my life. Help me not to love anyone or anything more than you. I know You are the only way to experience true fulfillment. Amen.
Have you wandered from God? Is there something or someone that you are trying to get ultimate fulfillment from other than Him? Confess your sin of idolatry to Jesus, then praise Him that He is always there for you.
Elevation Worship: Worthy
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