Is God Really First?
Years ago, I remember reading an article written by an atheist who was sympathetic to Christianity and giving pointers to those trying to befriend or explain Christian ideals to an atheist.
One of the things I remember was something to the effect of “stop saying I have to love God more than I love my family, that’s just crazy.”
I agree. In the realm of human wisdom and understanding, it’s crazy, but there is a method to God’s madness.
When the things (as Tozer describes) grow down into our hearts, it encompasses not only material possessions, but people as well.
We may readily or more easily comply with the giving up of possessions, but when it comes to our family and those we love, we want to hang on for dear life. We want to protect and envelope them.
Nothing wrong with loving and caring for people, Jesus was certainly for that! The problem is when the people take the place of God like the things did. He will call us to lay them down, but it’s not vengeful or spiteful.
Tozer puts it this way,
We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends… Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed. –A.W. Tozer, the Pursuit of God (chapter 2)
When it comes down to it, we are afraid that God won’t take care of them the way we will, but we are actually hindering their progress and the safety of our relationships.
When I am the sole protector and provider, I wear myself out and can’t do half of what my Father can do. He watches over my marriage as I entrust it to Him. He watched over my kids as I turn them over. He watches over the situations and lives of the people in my congregation that I’m praying for and standing with.
I still have the responsibility to respond and move with the Holy Spirit as I relate to them, but it’s not all on me.
Nothing is to take the place of God, and crazy-sounding or not, He orders it that way so that we stay connected to and abiding in His love, grace, and fellowship. By hanging on, we run ragged and may end up losing the relationship anyway.
You shall have no other gods before Me. –Exodus 20:3
We listen and follow His voice, we are blessed. The test comes many times, but there is never any reason to let the devil lead us away from God’s perfect rest.
Have you ever been particularly stubborn about a relationship you were trying to ‘help’? What was the outcome? What helps you keep your relationships in the proper perspective?
Welcome to week 4 of our book club discussion of the Pursuit of God (disclosure) by A.W. Tozer. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it, and to fully digest this book, we’re spending two weeks on each chapter. If you have a response on your blog, add it in the link widget below and be sure to check out the other entries. Also head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for another great take. Whether you’ve read the selection or not, please share your thoughts! We always appreciate a vibrant conversation.