Denying Ourselves Daily

I guess a thing I am supposed to take away from my study of the life of Moses is about idolatry and not worshiping other things. I just keep getting these messages about casting down idols. Right now, I’m struggling with whether or not I should get some rabbits from someone that I don’t want to get them from. It’s embarrassing to even admit it, really. It’s not even that I don’t want to see her or talk to her. It’s not even that then my rabbits would be from her farm and descended from rabbits from her farm. The problem is that getting successfully bred rabbits from her just reminds me that she has successfully bred rabbits and I have not, when it comes down to it. It’s ridiculous, really, because it probably won’t even happen. But it does give me something to think about.

This plays into my own idolatry in two ways, actually. First, I idolize my competency. I only like to do things that I am good at. To have God call me to things I am not good at or to want to do things that I am not good at, is grating. And to be reminded of my incompetence in this way is particularly…annoying. The issue isn’t insecurity, like she’s better than me. The issue is my second idolatry problem: me coveting her freedom to spend her time learning about homesteading and gardening and whatever she wants. And I don’t have that freedom.

My first and foremost focused interest must be God and his word. I can not replace any of my study time spent on that with time spent on gardening or rabbits. I have to do my Bible study and writing first because those are the things God has called me to. For me, that is what obedience looks like. Then, after I do those things, I can start on my own interests. If I run out of energy (and I often do), then that is that. And, some days, I am just so jealous of people who don’t have to make that choice, that sacrifice of what they want on the altar of what they are called to. I am jealous of people who can spend their time and money and energy on things that they choose, things that are fun or interesting or whatever, never thinking about duty or obedience. And I am jealous of people who don’t have to make that choice because they have the energy for work and hobbies.

But I have to repent of those desires. I wouldn’t really trade my eternal reward for hobbies and fun on earth. I wouldn’t rather be selfish and focused on what I want. I want God to take those desires and that love of the world from my heart. And when he does and I focus on him and his word, I usually end up getting enough time on my interests to satisfy me and I manage to treat other people better and myself.

Source: http://annaangela.com/surrender-god/matt-16_2425/
Source: http://annaangela.com/surrender-god/matt-16_2425/

It brings home, though, exactly what a demand Jesus is putting on us when he says we must give up our lives and deny ourselves, what that can mean. Sometimes the sacrifice is not about big things, sometimes it is about the littlest things, the minute to minute choices we make every day. How those things speak to and from our heart.

This is one of those places where the focused interest is both a blessing and a curse. I love that I can get interested in something and the more I learn about it, the more I want to learn about it. The more I read the Bible and the more I know about it, the more I want to know and the more I want to read it. I want to spend hours and hours and hours doing it. Once I get through a chapter or two, I want to read 20 more. But, the more I focus on one thing, the less I want to focus on anything else. Everything else gets to be more boring. Which is awesome except for when it’s things I need to focus on in order to be more effective in my life.

I guess, though, if I have a choice (and I do), I will choose to make God the thing that I want, the thing I want to get deeper and deeper into, the thing that I want more and more of. Everything else can be a chore.

More importantly, when I think about what all this tells me about God, it’s amazing. The God we worship holds the galaxies that he created in place with his word. That same God wants to be so integral in our lives that everything we do and say would be an act of worship. He had the Israelites camp all around the Tent of Meeting so that they would always be able to see the cloud that he was dwelling in. He set up the sacrificial system so that all of their lives would revolve around it. He instructed them to talk about his word and his commands constantly. The Creator of the Universe and Time wants to be in every minute detail of us. I can think of no reasonable response but to put him there.

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