Have you ever fallen in love so deeply that all you think about is that person? Their interests, longings, heartaches. You are totally head over heels in love with that person… then they cheat on you!
They still want you in their life and still love you, but not like they used to. The embers of that fiery love have suddenly gone cold. And even when they know that you can see into their heart, you see their half-hearted love for you, they still choose what captures their affections.
OK, I’m sure you’re starting to get the gist. “All that glitters ain’t gold” is a quote that echoes around some church walls today, and maybe within the walls of our hearts.
Sometimes, as Christians, we can quite easily be taken in by “the magpie mentality” – we see something that catches our eye, something that’s shiny and attractive and take and store it in our nest.
The world is full of glitz and glamour and has a lot on a plate to offer us. We as followers of Christ, who have “tasted and seen that the Lord is good”, can quite easily turn our backs on Christ, who is passionately in love with us and feed from the world, instead of feeding the world with goodness and the bread of life.
Brennan Manning, a hero of mine, says in one of his sermons “We are in a furious love affair with Christ” meaning we quite easily kiss Him then betray Him just like Judas Iscariot did.
The Bible says: “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5). Sometimes we can have our feet in both camps: one in the world and the other in the kingdom of God.
There’s nothing wrong with having money and putting it into something that will glorify God. In a sense we need money in this age to keep our churches flowing with income that can be spent on the poor. Even Jesus himself said: “However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.” (Matthew 17:27)
But when money or worldly things take over our hearts and undeservingly take the place of God, we have a problem. When I say “worldly things” I mean technology, fancy clothes, fast cars, material possessions, etc.
Did Jesus need these things in His time? Did they take over His life so much that in the garden of Gethsemane He cried “Father Take this cup from me ‘cause I want to live a cosy comfortably worldly life, I don’t want to go to the cross because I’ve found something more glamorous and fulfilling and my heart is won by it”?
I don’t think He did. He went to the cross and suffered pain, persecution, torture, He was ridiculed, spat at, but that didn’t matter, because He loved the Father. He cried “Not My will but Yours be done” (Matthew 26:39).
Oh how we need to get back to that place of a fiery love for Jesus, where nothing can take His rightful place in our hearts. Like we were at the start, where we break away from the affair that we have with this world, and let Him be loved, adored and enthroned again. After all, He deserves everything.
It’s true, isn’t it? He was nailed to a cross, emptied Himself totally for the sake of humanity, that we may come to know the Father, the creator of all things, who intricately created every part and knows every molecule in our fickle human bodies. But still we are lulled into sleep and taken into the lies and deception of this dark world.
James writes: “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us?” (James 4:4-5)
We are named adulterous people here and also enemies against God. This is something difficult to swallow! Also that He is jealous over the Spirit within us… He is jealous over us! He wants us all to Himself.
We can relate to that, can’t we? If we’re married, we certainly don’t want our spouses to give themselves to things that would take their time and affection away from us.
Every moment of the day God is there for us, every single inch of our life He longs for, it’s when we don’t find fulfilment, when we “feel” His distance and go through desert times of dryness and emptiness that we crave for the things that bring us comfort.
Even Jesus Himself felt distant from His father whilst on the cross. Matthew writes: “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46)
So He’s been there also, separated and even doubting. Let us then choose Jesus and cut the ties that hold us down, or invade the space where the king should be enthroned and fall in love again with the one who loved us first.