It’s Christmas time and under our tree are a ton of wrapped presents. Our 5 year old is going out of his mind every day wanting soooo sooo badly to open his presents. He is so present-crazed that when we go to the store to pick up bread or other items we need he is willing to spend his saved money from past birthdays to buy small items to ease his discomfort. The desire is so strong I almost feel bad for him. Almost.
My pastor, Pastor Mike Fabarez, used this sermon illustration this past year about babies and I think it is so relevant to this topic. Have you ever seen a baby suck on anything that comes near their mouth? They will suck on anything. Your hand, your keys, the pillow, the floor, your nose. They are looking for the thing they desire most: milk. It is instinct. We have a same guttural desire that we were all born with whether we like it or not. We were all made in the image of God and we all desire him at our core even if we do not know what to call it. I have heard it said to be that we all are born with a “God-Shaped Hole” in our hearts and that until we find God, or more precisely God calls us, we constantly stuff other things in the void in our lives. Think about it. Are you ever really truly satisfied?
Do you find yourself saying to your friend, spouse, parent, or self “If I could just have that (fill in the blank) then I would be happy.” I hear it all the time and used to say it all the time. I always desired the next great purse or car or home. I remember being a kid wanting this or that and seeing that as I got older the items on my list grew bigger and bigger. Have you ever gotten caught up in the “Secret” craze, creating “vision boards”? Mine had a private jet, a butler and chef, a huge estate, and all sorts of other items that I truly believed if I obtained those things THEN I would be happy. Guess what? If you go ask someone who has all those things on the surface they will say they are happy, but if you knew them well they most likely would still feel like something is missing.
Are you able to honestly asses your desires? What gifts are you getting this year for the holidays or your birthday? Would you be willing to give them up? Do you need them so badly that you would justify keeping them? I am not saying the items themselves are bad and that if you do have a private jet then you are not saved. What I am saying is that if your desires for those things or the things themselves become idols in your heart (meaning you are desperate to have them or keep them) then you may want to re-evaluate your relationship with God.
The phenomenal thing about having a true relationship with God is that you feel utterly complete. You lack nothing. There is nothing in this world that you need anymore. Literally. Your lifestyle, your things, your relationships, even your own life becomes inconsequential to God’s will. To put it plainly would you be willing to do any or all of the following if God asked you to. Remember, these are just hypothetical but please make an effort to fully visualize each scenario.
- You are called to quit your job and work at an orphanage in the inner city.
- You are called to sell your house and move in with a family member to donate most of your money to charity.
- You are called to sell your entire shoe (or bag, or baseball card or whatever you collect) collection to help a family down the street who lost their job.
- You are called to leave your kids and your spouse indefinitely to go on a mission overseas.
- You are called to go to a country and spread the gospel where Christianity is outlawed and punishable by death.
If you are justifying these examples by saying something like, well my husband would never let me do that and God tells me I must obey my husband then you are putting God in a box. Believe me, if God wanted you to leave your kids and husband to do something for him, he would sanctify the decision by making your husband desire you to do it too. God lines up peoples hearts even if they are not his. He uses and animated every single person on the planet. You may also say you are too afraid. Well, read Jonah and see how things turned out for him. His heart was truly messed up and he battled God the entire way even after he relented and did what he was told.
Be honest with yourself and test yourself. Determine what you are unwilling to give up. Ask God to help rid these things and that he would reveal himself to you. What a joyous release it is to not have to ever try fitting anything else into the God-shaped void that was in my life. My heart is overflowing with joy and true life-breathed completeness that I never thought possible!