Graham Cooke: pgs.38-39
A sixth question could be added to that list:
✦✦ WHAT CURRENTLY DISTRACTS YOU FROM ENJOYING THE
PRESENCE OF GOD?
Martha was pulled away from Jesus’ presence by her sense
of duty and by the work necessary to house a guest of Jesus’
stature. What interests you most has taken a piece of your heart.
If the combination of people and things in your heart is greater
than your love for God, your spirituality will hit a ceiling and
level off. Often we do not know where God is in our life because
we have not given Him much room to move. The clutter of our
other loves and desires, legitimate though some may be, can
prevent His reality from being expressed. In extreme cases, they
can even shut Him out all together.
Many Christians are lukewarm in their fellowship with the
Lord because the balance of their love and attention is swung
away from the Father. Idolatry has such a beginning.
His love raises the water table of all our other affections:
it’s as if our love for others comes up ten levels because of how
we feel about Him. When God rules out of your absolute love
for Him, all other loves improve and increase.
Whatever comes between God and us is an idol. Whether
it’s our leadership, career, business, ministry, family, or anything
else, it’s an idol. At that point,
we are headed for either a pruning
or a serious chastisement because
God is a jealous God. He will not
have anything come between Him
and His children. Take some time and make sure your life is in
“WITHOUT WORSHIP, WE
GO ABOUT MISERABLE.”
Jesus’ words to the church in Ephesus need to ring loud
and clear in our spirits: “Remember therefore from where you have
fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly
and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” The
lampstand represents the place of revelation, influence, and
ministry—a beacon of light to ourselves and others. God must have preeminence.
“WHAT CURRENTLY DISTRACTS YOU FROM ENJOYING THE PRESENCE OF GOD?”
Have you noticed how “distractions” seem to jump up and down relentlessly even when you try your best to ignore it? The louder the distractions get the more time it will take away from enjoying the presence of God, right? I like what Graham poses in these questions. It brings us to refocus our attention back to gaining an understanding about what is replacing God in our heart. When we can honestly answer this question, we can successfully make changes. We need to make better choices and decisions for what occupies our time and thoughts.
”When God rules out of your absolute love for Him, all other loves improve and increase.” I must have read this over several times and each time I found a new key or nugget of wisdom. First, I looked at the concept of obedience to God. Graham states “When God rules.” So, in other words: we have misplaced God in our heart in some measure that is an act of disobedience in His sight– either it is our own flesh or we are not allowing him to lead us. Ok. Next, “out of “ so is necessary that we are “present” (like Martha) in our daily life experiences with His spirit…walking in the power of Holy Spirit, otherwise He is not able to abide with the idol of our heart and the result is less of what His plans would be for us. The next key here is “absolute love.” We love at the feet of Jesus, like Mary. He wants us to recognize His presence first before what distracts us or take His place in our heart. Is your family, friends, work, personal desires or even achievements taking priority over Jesus? Is the struggle in your life distracting you from listening to God’s love language which is full of His promises for you? In short, we easily can make idols in our heart from what surrounds us or entertains us. It comes between our worship of God and it slowly takes over our time with God to the point that we willingly replace God completely with our idols. (sigh) The result is sin. His word states “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” We don’t want to put our loving savior in the back seat of our life, right? Let’s pull off the wrong path quickly, repent and toss that old idol in the garbage where it belongs and put God back on the throne in our hearts!! Don’t even look back in the rear-view mirror. Just press on and let God bring the increase to you as He promises. Watch as He blesses you!!