Wednesday, July 2, 2014

On means and ends

One of the things I have been learning in my walk with God has been to stop confusing means and ends. What I mean is this: there have been long periods in my Christian life where I looked to God more for what I wanted Him to do for me rather than simply wanting to be in relationship with Him. The things I wanted were not bad things. I wanted freedom from sins I found oppressive to my soul and that I knew were offensive to God. I wanted healing from Crohn’s, a chronic disease that has limited me in a variety of ways since I was a teenager. I wanted my kids to be not just good kids, but godly ones, who sought the Lord on their own and in whose hearts Jesus was very real. I wanted to see our church grow in both depth and attendance. And I still want those things and I still believe that it is entirely right to pray and seek the Lord for them. But I am learning that in pursuing these (and other) desires that I was missing out on authentically loving and worshiping Jesus simply because He is worthy of it quite apart from what He can (and may yet!) do for me. I was at risk of loving the gifts of God more than their Giver, of treating my Heavenly Father more as a means for achieving my life goals than as the Chief End and Purpose and Goal of life Himself. 

Recognizing and then repenting of this idolatrous pursuit has been something of a process. As I said, it is something I am learning to do, not something I have learned. Yet I am learning to rightly order the desires of my heart, to put loving and worshiping Christ first and last and far above any outcome or goal as I realize more and more how unbelievably gracious God has already been to me. I am learning to want God Himself far more than any benefits or blessing He might, in His amazing grace, confer. And in this, I am, I think, learning to truly worship God.

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