“Establish my footsteps in Your word,
And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.”
Psalm 119:33, NASB
As a member of my church’s worship team, I am currently reading through The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer – and it is wrecking me. To truly pursue the Father of lights, we must be willing to come into the light; we must allow His light to reveal the unlimited layers of sin that plague our hearts.
Don’t shine a light on me, please. I’m a mess.
Especially when it comes to this: possessiveness.
The second chapter talks about the problem of possessiveness; the innate human tendency to exalt things or people or ideologies to the highest place in our hearts.
We all do it. We all exalt something – usually, a good thing – above God.
Tozer stresses the spiritual significance of allowing God to cleanse us from our unhealthy affairs with anything or anyone that isn’t Him. He insists that the secret to a heart full of freedom is the art of renunciation. To illustrate his point, he references Abraham and Issac.
He elaborates on the anguish that our Father of Faith must have felt that night on the slopes near Beersheeba, the night the Lord called him to sacrifice his only son. The son he waited for, the son he prayed for. The representation of God’s promise.
But it was a test.
Tozer writes, “God let the suffering old man go through with it up
to the point where He knew there would be no retreat,
and then forbade him to lay a hand upon the boy. To
the wondering patriarch He now says in effect:
‘It’s all right, Abraham. I never intended that you should actually
slay the lad. I only wanted to remove him from the temple
of your heart that I might reign unchallenged there. I
wanted to correct the perversion that existed in your love.'”
How does God tear away the unhealthy tendons connecting our hearts to others?
He reminds us that He did what Abraham didn’t do.
God gave us His son as a sacrifice to purify our love. And He calls us to meet Him at the altar, too.
What relationship in your life is God asking you to bring to the altar – not for the purpose of killing it, but of purifying it in His love?
Personally, I idolize certain people’s opinions. Their opinions motivate my decisions. Their opinion of me motivates my decisions.
While wisdom comes from wise council, there are certain situations in which God wants to speak directly to us. We need to hear Him for ourselves. And more often than not, rather than asking others what they think I should do, God would have me go directly to His Word. God would have me sit and wait to hear His voice.
But that takes time. That takes humility. I’d prefer to just ask a mentor who has walked closely with God for years and obey whatever she may say.
But that’s exalting her to place of God.
Let’s go deeper: by choosing the immediacy of a human’s voice rather than practicing the spiritual disciplines of patience, holiness, and fasting to hear God’s voice, I am ignoring the access I have to the Father; the access granted to the Holy of Holies which was purchased for me by such a high price.
The access granted through the cross.
Through the cross, God once and for all purified our love for Him and for other things. Through the cross, Jesus can come to dwell in our hearts. And only when He is on the throne of our hearts can we rightly love those around us.
We all struggle with this.
Maybe it’s a relationship. Maybe there is someone or something that you idolize above God. Allow God to show you the posture of your heart towards this person and to purify your affections in the light of His love.