Friday, January 25, 2013

Battling the "If Only I Had" Temptation

Today's Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl Book Blog Update
As usual...I'm just mainly putting what Lysa has said in her book with some (very little--actually maybe not at all today) of my own insight/thoughts.

Lysa does an excellent job pointing out that even if we don't fall into the idolatry of relying solely on other people or things to fill us, we can still be tempted by the lie that the things of this world bring fulfillment. It's a lie that typically goes something like this: I could be really happy & fulfilled if only I had...
...a skinnier body.
...a husband who was more tender & romantic.
...more money.
...a more successful career.
...a better personality.
...smarter kids.

None of these or any other "if only I had" statements will bring fulfillment. Becoming more than a good Bible study girl means realizing that, apart from a thriving relationship with God, even if I get everything on my list, there would still be a hallow gap in my soul {believe me, I've gone after them & they've not brought me that fulfillment I was searching for}.

Instead of saying, "If only I had..." & filling in the blank with some person, possession, profession, or position, I need to make a choice to replace that statement with something that draws my heart into God's truth. Since I cannot be pulled away from God & draw near to Him at the same time, speaking truth will right my perspective & put my focus where it should be.

Here are some examples that have helped Lysa battle the temptation to let people, possessions, or position take God's place in her life. And I'm thankful to see these as to hear/read her say it is one thing, but to have an example makes it even better for me to understand.

Lysa no longer says, "If only I would have had a daddy who loved me..." Instead, she says, "Psalm 68:5 promises God will be a father to the fatherless. I don't have to be the child of a broken family my whole life. I can be a child of God. God can fill in every gap left by my father & use what I learned through that experience for good."

Lysa suggests that if the gap wasn't left by an absent father but a friend who hurt you, or a husband who has left you, or the children you've longed to have but still don't; whatever that gap is, God is the perfect fit for the emptiness. Pray this paraphrase of Luke 1:78-79: "Because of the tender mercy of my God by which the rising sun will come to me from heaven --to shine on my darkness & in what feels like the shadow of death to me-- I will find peace."

Lysa no longer says, "If only I had more possessions..." Instead, she recites Matthew 6:19-21: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth & rust destroy, & where thieves break in & steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth & rust do not destroy, & where thieves do not break in & steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Any possession I ever long for, no matter how good it may seem, will only be good for a limited time. In light of eternity, every possession is in the process of breaking down, becoming devalued, & will eventually be taken from me. If I set my heart solely on acquiring more & more things, I'll feel more & more vulnerable with the possibility of loss.

Possessions are meant to be appreciated & used to bless others; they were never meant to be identity markers. It's not wrong to enjoy the possessions I have as long as I don't depend on them for my heart's security.

Lysa no longer says, "If only I had a better position..." Instead, she recites the words of Psalm 119:105: "Your word is a lamp to my feet & a light for my path." Lysa points out that I don't need a better position to get where I should go. I don't have to figure out my path & jockey to get ahead. I need God's Word to guide me there. Only as I follow Him & honor Him step by step can I be assured that I'm right where He wants me to be doing what He wants me to do.

Whatever "if only I had" statement I have can be replaced with solid truths from Scriptures that will never leave me empty. It's a bold statement to make & might even sound a bit trite, but it's true. When God's Word gets inside of us, it becomes the new way we process life. It rearranges our thoughts, our motives, our needs, & our desires. Our soul was tailor-made to be filled with God & His truth; therefore, it seeps into every part of us & fills us completely. It is the only perfect fit. And according to Psalm 119:30-32, being filled with God's Word sets our hearts free! "I have chosen the way of the truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free."

Stay tuned for the next Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl Book Blog Update...

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