Advice to the new (or old) believer, pt. 2

Part 2 in a series… (back to part 1)

Choosing our one True Love over the false loves!

Oswald Chambers wrote “Get into the habit of saying, ‘Speak Lord,’ and life will become a romance…one great romance, a glorious opportunity for seeing marvelous things all the time.” God romantically pursues us, but because He must be looked for, we often choose to chase after false loves. We are born a huge wad of neediness. Then our life experience adds an extra-large helping of pain and disappointment. We crave acceptance and approval, someone to say “you are valued, loved, and I enjoy you—you are captivating, you have what it takes.” If we stopped to really listen to God, he is saying that to us, but it’s hard to hear his voice (see Pt. 3!).

So when we are feeling lonely, rejected, low, tired, weak, incapable, foolish, or in any other way bad about ourselves, we look to something to lift us up. God wants to be that something. He wants us to come to Him and tell Him exactly how we feel, even if the feelings are negative, even if we are telling him about our temptations as we are experiencing them. (I believe Psalm 139:19-24 is an example of this, and there are others in the Psalms—King David was especially good at this.) Then he wants to pour out his grace (favor, power) and mercy (forgiveness, releasing from punishment) on us to enable us to endure. And he will also show us why we are feeling the way we are feeling and will heal us over time, if we are faithful to seek him.

But you know what? That’s really hard sometimes. Chocolate is so much easier. Or shopping. Or TV. Or jumping on Facebook and hoping that others will help meet those deep needs in our hearts. For men, pornography is a common escape. And don’t forget the classics: drugs and alcohol. We self-medicate our pain, even though the Lord is there offering understanding and healing.

These false loves will never satisfy us. They leave us empty and broken and addicted. A good friend online or on the phone may help a little, in that we are for a moment not as lonely, but in the end the hole in our hearts are just covered over, but as deep as ever.

Does saying no to the false loves and yes to God just happen because we are now aware of the choice? Well, sometimes, yes! But often we choose the false loves anyway. One of the major themes of your (and my) lifelong journey of becoming a lover of God will be to allow him to reveal and heal. If you ask Him, He will reveal to you why certain false loves have power over you (often something from your past), and then will begin the process of healing that area of your heart. What a great God—the lover of our souls!

So next time you feel the desire for one of the false loves that will never satisfy, draw near to the Lord.  Ask Him to show you what the real unmet need is, and ask Him to meet it His way.  And then we have to trust Him to do it, even if He does it in a way we don’t like at first.  If we trust him anyway, the blessings are countless!

Update: As I was eating my ice cream right out of the carton standing in front of the fridge just now, the thought occurred to me that some might interpret my comments as to mean that we should never enjoy things like chocolate or alcohol. While I would say there are clear scriptural commands against things like pornography and drinking unto drunkenness, other things against which there is no scriptural command can be enjoyed in moderation. But we can abuse almost anything unto addiction.  The Holy Spirit will let you know when you overstep healthy boundaries for you, but it’s important not to judge others for whom the boundaries are in different places.

On to part 3!

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5 Comments

  1. fragmentedmentalconfetti

     /  April 6, 2008

    Hello! Well, it looks like God placed similar thoughts into our hearts today! Thanks for writing.

    Reply
  2. Jen

     /  April 6, 2008

    Dave….you are so right on!!! Those high schoolers…and your blog readers are blessed to have you! You are wise wise wise….

    Reply
  1. Advice to the new (or old) believer, pt. 3 « In the Heights
  2. Advice to the new (or old) believer, pt. 4 « In the Heights
  3. Advice to the new (or old) believer, pt. 1 « In the Heights

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