Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Misconception #4: Follow Jesus and You'll Get What You Want.

[This is the fourth in a series of Top 10 Misconceptions some MKs face.]

Psalm 37:4 says "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Of course, we have been taught to positionally know that this means that God will turn our desires into His desires, but practically I find myself thinking that God will really give us what we want. And you don't realize you think that until you don't get something you thought you wanted. Even if what you want is a good thing.

My plan for my life was to be a pastor's wife, stay-at-home mom, and teach piano lessons on the side (out of my home). But what I've learned is that God's plans are truly BEST for us, in bringing glory to Him. There are so many things I can do right now as a single person that I would not be able to do if I were married, such as teaching at the Christian school and playing the piano for church. If I find myself in the process of thinking "why don't I have these things?" what I'm really saying is "I don't trust God to provide for me and to know what is best." If my BIG GOD could lead the Israelites across the Red Sea, save Jonah in the belly of a big fish, and place Esther into the kingdom "for such a time as this," how can I not trust Him in every detail of my life?

I've heard quite a few talks about the "idols of the heart." We do the things that we do because we want the things that we want. Why do I want the things that I want? I have found that it is so easy for my deceitful heart to get in the way. My heart is an idol factory. What is an idol? It is something that I am willing to sin in order to get, or something that I respond sinfully when I don't get. How you respond reveals your heart. My heart is deceitful. It will lie to me. Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." I can be doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons.

Even if I start doing things for the right reason, it is so easy for my sinful heart to change its motivation mid-stream. Just yesterday I was mowing the lawn, and I like to go over and above by mowing part of my neighbor's lawn. I can do this out of the motive of wanting to share the love of Christ with my neighbor, but it's so easy to slide into thinking, in the middle of doing it, "I sure hope they appreciate the fact that I had to move their trashcan to mow their grass." Once I start thinking that way I've immediately put the idol of pride, or wanting to do things for the motive of being seen by others, on the throne of my heart.

When I was in college, I dedicated my life to be used by the Lord in full-time vocational service for Him. I want my life to count for Christ, but sometimes I know that I lose sight of my identity in Christ. If my identity is found in my role in life, I am doomed to disappointment. I think a lot of people struggle with their identity. I am the same way. I have for years been identified as a preacher's kid, a church pianist, a teacher...and when you are on your own with no dependents it's hard to find your role and easy to think you don't matter or aren't needed. And it's true. God doesn't NEED me. But He does want to use me. It's easy to get a "Martha" complex: "I'm doing all these things for Christ. What is He going to do for me?" Positionally I know my salvation is not based on works, but practically I sometimes still feel like I need to please God by being His "helper." I can become lonely and depressed if I am focused on ME. I need to focus on who I am in Christ, and preach the gospel to myself daily. I am no longer mine but am His who died for me.

Reality: God wants to conform us to His image, and the purpose of life is to bring glory to God.

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