Last spring an idea burst into my life.
It was brought there by the Lord, through my husband, through John Piper's book A Hunger for God.
I haven't been able to forget this idea, partly because I was so convicted by it and partly because reminders of it keep popping up in things I read and hear.
The idea is:
Finding more contentment in Christ than in anything else. Loving Him better than His good gifts.
THIS THOUGHT WOKE ME UP.
Yes, I'm a Christian and I see Christ as my strength, my refuge, my hope, my Redeemer. But am I most satisfied in Him? Do I need Christ and something else to be satisfied with my life? (Everything's going great if I have Christ and... good health, a nice home, problem-free kids and marriage, surplus money, good things to snack on, and I look cute.) Anything can become a substitute for God, even in the life of a Christian. My appetite for simple pleasures of earth can become deadly when they replace my appetite for God himself. This lesson is an especially hard one for me because I'm all about enjoying simple pleasures. God's gifts are so good! I love to love them! And that in itself not where the problem lies, but the danger is that I fall in love with the gift and prefer it to God himself. And frankly, there are some gifts, some things, that I cannot imagine life without. Things that if I'm not careful, have mastery over me.
There is another danger, though. The danger that we belittle the gift and glory in our willpower to give it up or hold back in enjoying it. God wants us to enjoy what he has created. It should serve as a reminder of how awesome He is and spark praise from us. A good, juicy peach, a night on the couch with a great book, good health, homemade apple crisp, a cute haircut, a nice home with cute kids and a loving spouse, a job well done, bacon and eggs, chocolate brownies. (Food is a big one for me.) These are emblems of the real thing we praise and love and find our contentment in. I want to be able to say, truly,
I LOVE THE REALITY ABOVE THE EMBLEM.
This idea won't be leaving my head anytime soon. Because now that I'm so awake to it- there's no going back.