I make it a habit to read the Bible daily because I want to grow in my relationship with God and I need the wisdom His word gives to help me live in a God-pleasing manner. Sometimes Scripture jumps from the pages and slaps me. Such was the case recently when reflecting on 1 John 1:3,4.
This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” without keeping His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
If I know God, why don’t I keep His commands? If I have a love relationship with Him, why then do I still have a lust relationship with the world? If I’m reading John correctly, lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes cannot cohabit with love for God. “If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him” (2:15b). This profoundly disturbs me. Obviously, I don’t know and love God very well. Too often, my thoughts course down Self-Centered River. My boat seems inexorably caught in currents that flow away from His presence. The intimacy I crave for with Him is sabotaged by intomesee.
Haggai 1:9—“You expected much, but then it amounted to little. When you brought the harvest to your house, I ruined it. Why?” This is the declaration of the LORD of Hosts. “Because My house still lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house.”
The prophet Haggai relayed to his countrymen God’s displeasure with them. Instead of rebuilding His temple and worshiping Him, they were preoccupied with their own things. While the temple sat in ruins, the Israelites looked after personal needs. Because of their self-centered attitude, God kept them from experiencing blessing. He knew they were not in love with Him!
The paradox of spiritual blessing is that it comes at the cost of personal indulgence. Jesus stated clearly that if we want to pursue Him we must deny self-wants (Luke 9:23). In essence, the mark of spiritual intimacy is the disappearance of self-gratifying love. God’s command is “Do not love the world” (1 John 2:15). How do we know what worldly love is? When extended to its conclusion it is meaningless. Possessions wear out and leave us unfulfilled. The best lust ends in death. Feelings lead to failings. Nature fades the planet burns. Anything we pursue that pulls us away from God is pointless.
God is not saying we cannot experience pleasure—that would contradict His purpose in creating us. I believe what He is saying is that it displeases Him when we are so busy with our own house that we neglect His house (Him). Disobedience is intimacy’s cancer. Our kingdom must never displace His Kingdom. So how do I remove my self-centered bent? I need God’s help. I cry out, “Lord, I want to know You, but I don’t know how to rid my heart of its idols. Help me. I’m sorry for letting the love of me displace the love for You. Thank You for forgiving me. Please let me know and fully love You. Help me to be what You intended when You made me to love You. Without You, I am nothing.”
Whenever self comes into the ascendant, the life of the Son of God in us is perverted and twisted; there is irritation, and His life suffers. Growth in grace stops the moment we get huffed.—Oswald Chambers in Grow Up Into Him
©2009 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)