Friday, February 28, 2014

Good Goodbyes

For those who follow my blog, you know that I've been doing a Bible Study on idolatry for...well, forever. (Really. I first did it in June 2013 & have been doing it on & off since then.)

I went through some other Bible Studies after completing it the first time in July/August 2013 & God continued to reveal new idols to me & I knew I had to work on them.

For background, this Bible Study has rocked my world consistently over the past eight-plus months. Here are my past posts about it.
Why Idols? Identity
Why Idols? Need
No Other Gods - Leah & Rachel
Thankful Day 11- Jealous God / No Other Gods...Yes, again
Idol Worship

Over the past couple of months, I have been pretty burdened by a couple of idols that the Lord revealed to me. I've been on a roller coaster trying to rid my life of them & doing well for a couple of days, or even a week, & then failing. For some reason, I have had it in my head that I need to get rid of them. No question that God is a priority or that I want Him to be my ONLY priority, so I need to just get rid of them right? Well friends, it's not that easy. I have been relying on myself to do the cleaning out, when there is no way I can do it alone. (You would think this was my first time doing this Bible Study!) The first time I went through this study, God revealed how family & fear were some of my idols & He helped me do the cleaning out in so many ways in my life. (When I think of that time I picture myself, a couple of weeks before I moved away from all of my family, sitting in a bathtub with my infant & my childhood dog while a tornado flew over my parent's house. I feel like my life was literally stripped of those idols & I'm so thankful.) This time, as God has revealed new idols, I thought I was smart & knew what I was doing & would just get rid of them. Just like that. (This was also a little part of the spiritual warfare/lies that the enemy has been telling me. He lied and deceived me into feeling like a failure b/c I couldn't simply get rid of them.) Funny, how quickly I forget what it was like just a few months ago. It is NOT that easy & it is NOT something I can do on my own.

A few weeks ago, one Sunday, God reminded me through His Word that I was not expected to do this alone. What a relief. Then this week in No Other Gods I am reminded of the same thing. This week is named, "Good Goodbyes." It's about cleaning out & getting rid of the idols once they have been recognized. I'm still in the process of doing this, but just being reminded that I'm not expected to do it alone-I can't explain the burden that was lifted & the freedom I feel.

Today's study was on the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-31). I just want to share a few parts that I loved & highlighted/underlined/journaled/want tattooed on!:

-"Embracing the new & parting with things of the past have been impossible for me to do all by myself, which is why I love one of the verses we're looking at today. 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.' Mark 10:27"

-"When the Lord tells us to part with our idols-or offer them up to Him-He is looking at us & loving us. He sees that our idols are in the way. He also knows that He has the power to turn whatever we parted with into a hundred fold in this lifetime, while also granting us eternal life. He can do this not because we make it possible, but because all things are possible with him." This is another place where Satan was trying to deceive me. He made me feel like the Lord was mad at me, when I really know my God to be loving and compassionate & rooting for me & willing to help me.

-This part was my very favorite. One of Kelly Minter's friends, Anadara, journaled this when she was in the process of moving & she was cleaning out her house. She talks about how she kept finding things she had hidden or put away to clean the rest of her house when she had visitors. She related it to the Lord going on a cleaning spree in her life. She says, "I have invited Jesus into every room. Surprisingly, He's been helping me clean, I always imagined Him coming in and saying with an authoritative voice, 'There's no room for Me here! When I come back this better be clean.' Well, like a typical kid, with that kind of relationship with God, I just lived my life hiding the things I was supposed to get rid of and created the illusion that I had cleaned up. I have come to find out, beautifully, that this is not how Jesus works. Jesus gets His hands dirty. He comes in and helps us clean. He hands us the things we need to get rid of. And He doesn't make a face. He doesn't complain. He is doing what He came to do. He is in His element. It is a gift to allow Him into the mess. It doesn't faze Him. He already knows it's there. But He wants us to clean with Him. We have to take part in it to understand the weight of what we have to clean out-and what we ultimately can't do by ourselves. Then we can truly appreciate it when He all of a sudden has room to sit down and start ministering to our hearts, truly providing for us the things we were ashamed of desiring-so we hid. All the things we were afraid we would lose. But we find out, when we lose our life we find it. Oh, the mystery."

-"I understand the beauty of getting rid of the things that simply take up space. That's what our lesser gods do. They offer a case sense of security and hope. They really aren't doing anything. We are deceived."

-"The One who asks us to clean house is the One who empowers us to do it...Luke 18:27...'The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."

What fantastic freedom to know that The Victor ;) is helping me do this!!

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