But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full born, gives birth to death… – James 1:14-15
I like to think that I married Jesus Christ when I was three years old, and we’ve renewed our vows several times over the years. Like any marriage we’ve had our disagreements (always on my part obviously). I’m always wrong. God never is. He’s always right. I know that. Trust me, I really do know that, but I’m also a very stubborn, argumentative person, and so I tend to challenge God occasionally on things that I’m just not too happy about. Sometimes God’s declarations just don’t sit right with me. I am not married to a physical man, so obviously I cannot know for sure, but I think that’s typical in any bride/groom situation. The thing is, unlike in a human bride/groom situation where the groom can and usually is wrong, God is never wrong in His marriage to us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. We just have to get that into our brains. God knows our hearts, our thoughts, our desires, and our dreams. He knows our entire past and our entire future. He is the BEST groom around. There is no one who compares to Him…no one…He is it!
My relationship with God has it’s extreme ups and downs. Some days I feel so close to Him, almost as if I can hear His voice audibly. Other days, I feel so far away. I feel like I’m lost in a foreign desert with nothing but an empty canteen, and I cry and cry out for Him, but nothing…nada…zip. God sends us through all types of terrain to teach us trust, but I just am not a fan sometimes. I’ve caught myself shouting up to the heavens, “Why, GOD!? Why? Why are certain things happening to people I love? Why are some sick, some dying, some hurt, some abandoned, some lost forever? Why God?! I don’t get it; I don’t understand it.”
Sometimes God answers me; other times, He doesn’t. I am reminded by something that my earthly father use to say to me when I was a young teenager and I questioned his authority. Bossy little 13-year-old Rikki-Lauren would stare up at her giant father and ask with flashing brown eyes, “Why daddy? Why?” And my dad, in his very deep voice, would reply, “Because, Honey, I said so. The reason doesn’t matter.” To me, it mattered at that moment. In the long run of life? No. My dad was either protecting me or looking out for me or teaching me a valuable lesson, and most likely I wouldn’t have understood the weight of the situation at 13. The lesson would have gone over my head.
I think God is like that. He doesn’t tell us sometimes because His thoughts are higher and bigger than ours. He created every intricate detail of the world including us humans, so do you really think we can even attempt to figure out what He’s thinking? Yeah don’t even try. I figured that out and, honestly, it’s saving me many headaches. Just take God for what He says. SERIOUSLY. If I can ever give out any advice, it’s this: just read the Bible and do what God says in it. Don’t ask why. Why is irrelevant.
Recently, I had a low, a definite low. My relationship with God was not as great as it should have been. It wasn’t terrible. I wasn’t having a faith crisis, I wasn’t denouncing Christ, I wasn’t in blatant sin, I wasn’t having morbid thoughts, but it just wasn’t on fire like I like for it to be and how most of us should prefer/desire. I couldn’t figure out why. I racked my brain. I racked it and racked it some more. I searched my heart. What on earth was I holding on to or doing that was preventing an openness with my groom? What?! What!? WHAT?!!!!!
Just last night, it suddenly dawned on me what had been going on in my life.
I realized I was dating the world.
Seriously. The world had enticed me with all of his glamour, prestige, fame, and fortune, and I had agreed to have a look and see what he had to offer. It had happened so slowly, so slyly, I hadn’t even realized what had been going on internally. It was something that I hadn’t even been looking for. The world had showed me a different way, and thus I had shifted my God priorities just a little bit. Instead of spending as much time with my groom, like I ought to have been doing, the one who knows me better than anyone, I had been spending time with Mr. Worldly. Mr. Worldly convinced me of many things that I ought to be spending my time doing versus spending time with Christ. Instead of reading my Bible as much as I use to, I needed some ME time, or I needed to focus on a few earthly goals for ME. I needed to work on things for ME. I needed to go and take time out for ME. I needed to think about what Rikki-Lauren needed. Not what my groom expected of me. And so, I began slowly over the course of time to buy into the lie of the world and focus on the things of me, like my education, my appearance, my writing goals, my fame dreams, my ego trip, my popularity status, my culture experiences, my travel adventures. The world said all these things were awesome and they were for ME. The world was having me focus on these for ME.
ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME.
Honestly, if you say “me” over and over again, you begin to grow sick of it. At least I did. By following the world, I began to dislike myself. The world promotes selfishness, it always promotes love of self, love of money, love of self-acclamation, love of lawlessness, love of gluttony. Anything besides love of God. And to be honest, fellow Christian, if there is something you love more in life than God, you are treading on dangerous waters. You have been enticed by the world, and you’ve already replaced God with something that the world wants you to and you need to give it up.
Let me clear something up. Focusing on my education, my appearance, my writing goals, my fame dreams, my ego trip, my popularity status, my culture experiences, my travel adventures – none of these are bad things. Well the ego trip is, yes, kick that one out, but the rest of them are not necessarily terrible things. BUT they are if I am spending more time on them and focusing more on them than the things God wants me to focus on. Our eyes are always meant to be glued on Him, not on ourselves. The world wants us to fall in love with ourselves. Christ wants us to crucify ourselves. See the difference? God wants us to be successful, God wants us to meet our dreams, He wants us to achieve goals, He wants us to have friends, He wants us to take care of ourselves, He even wants us to like ourselves, BUT BUT BUT! — none of those things should come before Him. And all of those things should give glory to Him. Our relationships should, our goals should, our dreams should, our jobs should, our education should, even our appearances should.
EVERYTHING WE DO SHOULD BE GLORY TO GOD!
And if it doesn’t, well then, my friend, perhaps you too having been dating the world. Perhaps you too have bought into the lies of self, of fame, of fortune. It’s so easy. We have to be on our guard. Test yourself everyday, every moment, every hour. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing for God or myself?”
The world sucks us in with its glamour, beauty, and empty promises. On the outside it exudes perfection, but on the inside it’s rotten. On those first few dates he lavishes you with promises to make YOU happy, but eventually he pulls everything from you. The world sucks out your insides and leaves you with nothing.
Drop the world. Suspend your dates. Go back to your marriage with Jesus Christ. God is a jealous God and rightfully so. He created you, died for you, loves you, and wants you all to Himself. He has the best plans for you, the best dreams, the best relationships, the best walk, the best will. There is no comparison…
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and it’s desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. – 1 John 2:15-17