Monday, June 25, 2012

Identity Embrace: Jealously Loved

God is a jealous God.  Does that sit strangely with you?

Yesterday, our pastor at TGC gave an incredibly clarifying example to illustrate God's jealousy for us.  Imagine getting married to the love of your life, the person God designed to partner with you for your earthly journey.  Then imagine that that very person started having eyes for another.  How would you feel?  

Any human being in their right mind would not say, "Oh, sure, go ahead and play around.  It's perfectly fine with me.  In fact, I endorse it.  It doesn't affect me one bit."

Certainly, you would grow jealous.  Not out of an effort or desire to control your spouse, but because you love them.  Because you are loyal to them.  Because faithfulness is the standard.

This is God's jealousy for us clarified.  

What does God grow jealous about, though?  Exodus 20:1-3 states clearly, "And God spoke all these words: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before me."'

God grows jealous when our hearts are not completely, wholly His alone.

Ask yourself right now, "What areas of my heart am I withholding from God?"  Then, I challenge you to examine four needs of your heart:

ONE: CONTROL.  What areas of your life are you desperately trying to control by yourself?  In what areas are you convinced that your own efforts prevail over God's sovereignty?  Some examples may be an entrepreneurial effort, any career change or advancement, your relationship with food and exercise, how you dictate time, and perhaps what moral standards you decide to follow.

TWO: SECURITY.  In what are you placing your security?  Your identity?  Financials, career stability, relationships, and general circumstances can play into worldly security.  But God wants you to find your security in His love, alone.

THREE: AFFECTION.  What gets your affection?  Your attention?  Your devotion and passion?  Putting ultimate stock in people, possessions, and even certain places draws our affection away from God.  What/who we spend time around will eventually affect us.  Examine those areas.

FOUR: APPROVAL.  In what areas of your life are you desperately seeking approval?  Work achievements, personal pursuits, opinions of family and friends, and the world's rewards will only tempt us to strive more and more...until we are worn out and depleted.  God's approval is a given, and it never wears out.  Soak in His approval alone.  In His eyes, you are ENOUGH.

After thinking about these four areas, ask again: What areas of my heart am I withholding from God?  

Today, bask in the truth that you are jealously loved by God.  So much so that He would come down in human form to rescue you on the cross.  Ask God to reveal what worldly "gods" are at large in your life, and then thank Him for loving you in a jealous way.  His love is enough, and He wants all of your heart.

What other areas of this life can potentially become idols, or other "gods"?    

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