Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Before His Face

                I find myself broken before my God this morning. Yesterday He opened my heart to the pride that was nestled deep within. I saw my sin clearly. I saw the pain it caused Him. I saw the distance it has put between us, and my heart became crushed. This morning as I prayed I cried out and asked the Lord to rip from my heart this pride and to replace in me a new heart, to create in me a new heart. I cried out to Him and proclaimed that this life is not worth living if I cannot be near Him. As I cried out I heard the Lord speak, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)

                Do we have gods before Him?  As the Lord spoke these commandments to Moses, His children were bowing down to a golden calf. We were created to worship God and have a relationship with Him. But sin got in the way. The sin of pride, the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh took hold of Adam and Eve and it entered into the heart of every living soul. I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. I believe that He was raised from the dead on the third day and is now seated at the right hand of God. I believe that when I sin I have an advocate with the Father through Him. I believe that when I fall down He picks me up. I believe that when I repent, He forgives. I believe all these truths that He has given me in His Holy Word. Yet, I find that I still have pride.  I still have idols in my life and I still stumble and fall over His first Commandment.
                “And God spoke all these words, saying; “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:1-6
                God speaks to my heart today and shows me that I have brought idols into my life. Most of us today, when we hear the word “idol” we think of a statue of Buddha or a golden statue of some other god formed by the hands of man. These are idols, true, but there are also idols in our hearts that we bring before the face of God. An idol is anything that we desire above God. It can be success, money, fame, even our ambition. It can be our family, our children, our husbands, our homes, cars, jobs, etc. Anything that we desire more than we desire God is an idol. You may be saying, “I am good - I have no idols. I love God and Him only.” I ask you to search your heart before you answer. I know that I too thought I had no idols, but the Lord has shown me otherwise. In my heart is the idol of pride.
                The Lord God says to us not to have any other gods before Him. The words “before Him” translate to “in His face.” What we do, say, watch, read, and think are always before His face. When I think about this, I have to stop and ask myself if there is anything about my life that displeases the Lord God; that causes Him to cringe when I watch it, read it, think it or do it. Yes, there are numerous things in my life that cause my God to cringe, including my pride. Pride is an idol and it can become the god of your life if we are not careful.

                The Lord Jesus opened my heart again last evening to the pride that was ruling my heart. I started reading a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called, “Brokenness, Surrender, Holiness”. A few months back, but had put it down because life got a little busy. Last evening I felt compelled to pick it up again. The chapter I had stopped at was titled, “Am I a Proud or a Broken Person?” Since the Lord showed me yesterday the sin of pride in my heart, and how I needed to be broken before Him, it was clearly His leading that caused me to pick this book up again.
                As I read through the chapter, I saw the sin of pride in my heart and how I had let it take control of my heart. I had allowed it to become the idol that was before the face of my God. This brought me low, it humbled me this morning, bringing me to tears before Him. Are the idols of our lives so important that we would choose to separate ourselves from God for them? Are the idols of our lives so great that we would forsake obedience to God our Father instead of surrendering them to Him? Is our life really that important? Is the life we are living worth living if we do not have Jesus?
                The Lord God showed me today that the sin of pride that was in my heart had become an idol. I would choose to disobey so that my pride could have its say. I will choose to rebel because my pride didn’t want to submit or surrender. I am choosing my pride over my God. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) All of my heart is to be His. All of my soul is to be His. All of the strength that is within me is for Him and to Him and because of Him. Is this life really worth living if I cannot have Jesus near me?  I can relate deeply to the Psalmist who wrote, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73:25)
                Are our lives on this earth so valuable, so important that we would risk losing our relationship to God for it? If I have not God, if I have not Jesus in my heart as God and God alone, then I don’t want to live anymore. I must, we must, come to a point in our lives where we allow God to remove the idols from our hearts, whether they be statues; persons, ambitions, or dreams, and create us to worship Him and Him alone. Joshua tells us that we are to “put away foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel.” (Joshua 24:23) We must put them away and stretch out our hearts before God. Whatever it is that causes you to disobey God’s commands is an idol. Whatever it is that you desire more than God is an idol. Whatever it is that consumes your life, instead of God consuming your life- is an idol. If you are not willing to let it go of this life because of that one thing, then you have an idol and God is not the God of your heart. God does not share your heart; He wants it all for Himself. He died for your heart. He deserves the whole thing.
               Jesus tells us that we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) Lately, I have sought my own righteousness. I have desired things more than I have desired God. I have allowed my pride to take control of my heart instead of allowing God to control it. I want nothing more to do with this life if I can’t have Him, if He can’t be first at all times, then what is the purpose in living?  I need Him to rip from me the heart of pride that I have created, and patiently endure the new heart that He will create in me. It will hurt, it will sting, and it will not be easy. But we must be willing to allow the Lord God to do whatever it takes to bring us to that point of full surrender, of full brokenness before Him and we must be willing to put away all the idols that we have brought before His face.

                I do not know where you are today in your walk with Jesus. But this I pray, that we, as His children would lay down before Him our hearts. That we would be real before Him, that we would be broken before Him. I pray that we would put away all the idols, the pride and the life we live before His face so that He can be the One True God of our hearts, forever and ever, Amen and Amen.