Love Feast Day #7: Get Lost In His Exclusive Love

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Welcome to the Get Lost Online Love Feast designed to help you feast on the love of God for ten days in an effort to overcome the angst of craving a guy!

Each day I’ll post worship music to focus your heart, a key Bible verse, and a prayer to pray just prior to a short devotional that’ll bring your heart to the banqueting table of God for a fulfilling and relevant teaching on what your heart truly craves! (Each of these is an excerpt from a love feast chapter in Get Lost: A Girl’s Guide To True Love where you can have the full experience. )

Is your heart anxious? Do you wish you could walk in peace? Enter into His exclusive love today and find it in his faithfulness…no matter how faithless you may have been.

Get Lost in His Exclusive Love • Embracing the Peace of Faithfulness

Focus your heart in worship by listening to this song:

“Love” By Sara Groves

Gain heart focus by praying Scripture out loud:

Jesus, You said that the glory You had is now mine. You said that we are one even as You are one with the Father. You are in me and the Father is in You, so we are perfectly one. Help me to know this so that the world will see You and so that I will know how very loved I am by You. (Adapted from John 17:22–23)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.

Matthew 22:37–38

As much as we’d like to believe we’ve come a long way from the foolish, ancient days of idol worship, I’m convinced we have not. Oh, we may not bow down before a wooden statue, but most of us bow our hearts toward an idol or two every day.

Idolatry is one of the most frequently addressed issues in Scripture. It’s even included in the Big Ten. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3, kjv). Since God does not address nonissues (especially in this list of commandments), maybe we should take note.

Many of the worship practices related to ancient idols—such as Asherah—included a sexual element. Lust and sexual conquest lured the Israelites into the cultural norms of the surrounding nations. Now, consider how closely sex and lust are entwined with the things that so often receive our attention. How much time do we spend in front of the electronic altar of our screens, lured in by Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, or even sitcoms that that cheapen the sacred act of sex? We carry iPods loaded with lyrics that would certainly make us blush if we read them out loud. Believing the lie that “it’s normal and it won’t really affect me,” we watch dancers caress stripper poles on televised music awards. Is it really that different from the Asherah poles back in the day?

My point is, you don’t have to twist yourself into Sanskrit worship positions or hang crystals in your bedroom for idols to be present in your life. You don’t even have to be worshiping the cultural idols of sensuality. The list of idols is as long as the list of people on this planet! Satan can twist any passion or desire God has planted in our hearts and turn it into an idol if we are not careful.

And if we do not recognize and cast aside these idols, there will be consequences. Why? Because when we offer our heart to other gods, we give the enemy permission to occupy our lives. We will lack peace because he will do what he has come to do. Steal things. Kill what he can. Destroy your life. It’s that simple.

Let me show you how to identify if an everyday, hard-to-detect idol could be stealing your peace.

Romans 12:1 serves as a helpful litmus test for identifying idols. I memorized this verse in high school and it has always been meaningful to me. It reads:

I appeal to you therefore…, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Our worship should involve the offer of ourselves as a human sacrifice to the God who sacrificed Himself for us. He wants all of you. Exclusively. Nothing less.

So the question that reveals your idol is simple: to what are you offering yourself as a human sacrifice? At the end of the day what takes a bite out of who you are and what you do? What controls you? Does something distract you from activities that should be priorities—reading your Bible, going to class, getting up to take a shower, studying? In what direction are all your energies and thoughts going?

You see, an idol doesn’t have to be inherently bad—porn, erotica, drugs, or eating disorders—to suck the very life out of you. It simply has to demand that you sacrifice yourself, spend yourself, invest your heart, soul, or mind.

I see it every day in not-so-subtle ways.

Romantic love can be an idol. The girl who idolizes romance believes lies like “I can control a guy who wants more than I do physically” or “I don’t have value unless I have a boyfriend” or “If I break up with him like I know I should, I will end up alone.” She may not speak these lies out loud, but she lives them out in her actions. Her heart is always flirting, ever seeking, and constantly hoping for a guy. She flits from boy to boy or does whatever it takes to keep the one she has. She’s convinced that to be without one would kill her. (The thief comes to kill.)

Money and material things can be idols. The girl who idolizes money and stuff believes lies like “If I just get that pair of jeans, I’ll feel better about myself” or “I can’t tithe until my own needs are met.” Since your money really belongs to God, He deserves the first part of it, not the last. And those jeans aren’t going to fulfill you any more than those wooden Asherah poles were going to make the Israelites have more babies! Have you been conned into placing greater value in money and stuff than in God? (The thief comes to steal.)

Your body image can be an idol. The girl who idolizes her appearance believes things like “If I just be a size or two smaller, I’ll be beautiful” and “If I only drink liquids and avoid solid foods, I’ll feel better about myself” and “I’ll control guys with the way I present my body.” Or even “It’s the guy’s problem if he thinks this low-cut blouse is a turn-on!” Such lies eat away at the very core of your physical and emotional being. (The thief comes to destroy.)

Boys, nice things, and presenting yourself well are not inherently bad, but something—anything—can become an idol when it controls your body and soul and mind nearly every waking hour. If the gift means more than the Giver, you’ve crossed the line into idol worship.

Perhaps one of the most misused verses in the Bible is Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that you not be judged.” This simply means that we should not be judgmental of people, but nowhere in Scripture are we told not to judge things, activities, and philosophies. In fact, the apostle Paul urges us to “try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10). So have at it!

Just how far does God take His claim to our exclusive love? Well, to be honest, He takes it farther than my mind can sometimes fathom. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Our love for Him is to be so exclusive and so far above our love for anything else, He says, that our love for our family should be like hate in comparison to our love for Him.

And yet…He also commands us to honor our father and mother.

Oh boy! This is getting difficult. Complex. (Love stories can be like that, can’t they?) Let me share with you the complicated story of a girl who “hated” her father and mother but also honored them in the quest for an exclusive love relationship with the God of the Universe.

Reina is a vibrant Japanese Christian. No one in her devout Shintoist family had ever married without an omiai. Omiai is the term for an arranged marriage, a custom still practiced by some in her culture.

Despite her family heritage, Reina wanted no part in an omiai. She had read my first book, And the Bride Wore White, as a teenager and used it to decide what kind of guy she would marry. Using my “wish list for him,” she’d prayed through what she believed God wanted her to be looking for in a husband. Her list included one peculiar item. In addition to “godly Christian,” “interested in ministry,” and “a college graduate,” her list included “not my omiai.” She knew her husband-to-be would be selected for his class, Shinto religion, and bloodline. She would be expected to have sex with him before the marriage in order to seal the deal. If she did not go through with it, she would be shunned by her family for having dishonored them. The stakes were high.

Reina was living in Hawaii as a twenty-one-year-old student when she got the call from her parents. “Good news! Your omiai has been announced!”

Lean in to hear how God honors us with a life just brimming with peace when we protect the exclusive nature of our love relationship with Him. Through the next few weeks, Reina treated her parents with great honor and obeyed them in every way. She knew that if God ordered her to honor her father and mother, He would make it possible even in this difficult circumstance.

One day as she and her mom were going out to shop, God’s Spirit spoke to Reina in a small voice: Ask your mom about her relationship with your father. Through the day, Reina looked for the right time and prayed for the right words. Then it came.

“Mom, do you ever wish my father treated you differently?”

The floodgate of her mother’s heart opened and tears flowed. Her mother confessed that she had not wanted to marry him, but did so because she didn’t want to lose her family. She told her daughter how much she loved her and was sorry for putting her in the same position she’d been in years ago.

That day her mother took action to remove the family’s obligation to the omiai, all because her daughter had acted honorably and respectfully to her and had stayed in tune with the Spirit’s voice.

Peace reigned in their home (even if it looked elusive for a time), and Reina soon met and became engaged to a wonderful Christian man. And get this: her parents adore him!

~    Mary the Mother of Jesus…gave up her reputation for Him.

~    Mother Teresa….gave up a life of wealth for Him.

~    Modern missionary Katie Davis…gave up marriage for Him.

~    Joan of Arc…gave up her life for Him.

What Are You Prepared to Give It Up for God?

 

Write Your Story

Sit quietly and consider what activities, entertainment, and philosophies you are investing your time in. Ask God’s Spirit to give you discernment about all of these things. Are you sacrificing yourself to one or more of these things? If so, write it down and purge your heart on these pages. When you have finished, select an older, wiser friend to confide in.

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