Don't Waste Your Life!!!!!

As I was writing this morning, I thought about one of my favorite talks, "Don't Waste Your Life". (I speak at women's events) I thought I would post an excerpt. It's long!!!

From "Don't Waste Your Life!"

What else does God want from MY life?”
Ladies, our God is jealous God. He is jealous for you. He doesn’t want to share you with ANYTHING else. He wants all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. God wants us to CHOOSE Him, to look to Him.

God wants the 1st place position in our hearts and lives.

God gives us this choice. He is always the gentleman and doesn’t force our devotion, but asks us to choose, as in Joshua 24:15: “Now fear the Lord and serve Him with ALL faithfulness. (Not partial, not some, but ALL faithfulness) Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped and serve the Lord. But, if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” God gives us this choice- are we going to live for Him or for ourselves? Are we going to serve God with all faithfulness or will we serve other gods? Are we going to let idols creep into that 1st place position in our hearts?

Now, you may be wondering, “Tracy, what do you mean? We don’t bow down to little golden statues. We don’t serve any other gods today- not in the 21 century! That was Old Testament stuff! What is an idol?”

But, an idol is simply anything we place in that 1st place position over God. It’s what we give our passion, our time, our SELVES to FIRST. What have we made first priority in our lives and hearts? John tells us, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols- from everything and anything that would take 1st place in your life.”

Lisa Bevere says, “An idol is what we give our strength TO or draw our strength from. She says God will always shake away those idols because He wants us to get our life from Him, not the things that will always disappoint.”

Idols can be things like money, or material possessions, shopping, exercise, our outward appearance, food, alcohol, admiration of friends, praise of man, work, TV, or even other relationships. Now you may be confused because you have to work and you really like chocolate! I told you I have a wonderful husband that I am head over heals about, and four beautiful children whom I love and I am passionate about speaking and I spend a lot of time scrapbooking at times. Are these idols? These things are not wrong or evil in or of themselves! It’s when we make them a priority over our relationship with God, when we start loving them above loving God. I love my kids, but I love my God even more! What gets you out of bed in the morning? What keeps you going through the day? What are your thoughts on throughout the day? What do find yourself thinking about and talking about? You see, I am first grounded in a relationship with my Savior- head over heals in love with Him FIRST, and then, He spills so much love into my heart that it overflows into all these areas of my life.

Unfortunately, it has not always been so. I consider myself an idol expert because I have bowed down to idols in my life, and they have created areas of bondage I have had to overcome. For me, it started in childhood. Like many women, I had a very dysfunctional family and my childhood was painful. As a young child, I turned to food for comfort, and it became my “safe place.” I used food to escape the pain I was experiencing. As you can imagine, I became an overweight child. Well, the summer before my eighth grade I stopped eating, and began walking everywhere I went. That summer, my weight melted off, and I found something new to fill my emptiness- the attention and praise I received after losing all of that weight. I soon relied on exercise to stay skinny, and I found two new idols- exercise, and the attention I could get with my outward appearance. That continued through high school and college. My personal worth was directly related to my outward experience. In college, I found a new passion- working hard and achieving tremendous success. This continued after college when I became a teacher. I was what you would describe as a workaholic. I needed to be the best, to be perfect. I continually compared myself to everyone around me, and I always had this competitive spirit within me, striving to be better than everyone else- to be the best. As you can imagine, I had set up such strongholds in my life! Of course, at the time, I didn’t think there was anything wrong. I would have considered myself a Christian- I went to church. But, I wasn’t feeding on God. I was feeding on these wordly pursuits, jumping from one to another. I was finding my self worth in these things, and never quite measuring up.

Well, when God moved us to Cedar Rapids, He had some major work to do. Has anyone else ever had some major work to do with God? He was going to deal with all of things, setting me free of all of these strongholds. But, oh, did we have to go through the wilderness. Was it painful! I didn’t even know I had to get rid of all these idols until God began opening my eyes.

When we moved to Cedar Rapids, I jumped right in, joining every possible club, organization, and playgroup. I was pregnant with Ashley, and Andrew was 2 years old. We were constantly on the go! We participated in every possible activity available. I will never forget one morning, I was trying to take Andrew to a playgroup, and he was just a crying and a crying. He said, “Mommy, can’t we just stay home today?” I was trying to keep busy with all of activities, but I was still so lonely.

After Ashley was born, I could not take off the pregnancy weight, I was feeling very depressed. I heard about a bible study that helped you lose weight, so I began facilitating it in my home. Wow! Did God open my eyes. This study taught me about idols, strongholds, and areas of bondage. God set me free by filling my up with HIM. I learned that needed to seek a relationship with Jesus, instead of filling my heart with all of these other wordly pursuits. So, over the past 7 years, God has continually revealed when I was turning to idols, and then helped me work through the process of being set free from them.

Jesus teaches us in Mat. 6:24 that “no one can serve 2 masters.” It is impossible. Jesus says, “You will either hate the one or love the other. You will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” You cannot serve both God and work. You cannot serve both God and food. You cannot serve both God and the praise of man. You cannot serve both God and shopping. You cannot serve both God and anger. You cannot serve both God and activities.

It is impossible to have two 1st priorities in our lives. We’ll always have a #1 and everything else will follow. Our 1st priority is whatever we give ourselves, our time and our passion to FIRST. Is there anything that is pushing God out of 1st place in your life and heart?
So, what does God want from our lives? God wants our wholehearted devotion, and He wants our whole life.

Father God, we love You! May You always take FIRST place in our hearts, minds, and time!

1 thoughts shared....:

Leigh Gray said...

God is so proud of you for never wasting one minute He gives you!!! He is so proud of you!!!

Love, Leigh