When God gives us a gift that is an answer to the deep desires of our heart, we mustn’t allow it to take us from Him.
Sadly, we often do.
I remember the day God taught me this important lesson.
I woke up that morning with sadness in my heart.
Weeks before, God had provided me with the most miraculous gift.
It was a gift I’d longed for most of my life. What joy filled my heart as I delighted in this gift!
I thanked and rejoiced in God’s goodness. I was in awe at how well He had provided — and how He thought through every detail.
It could not have been more perfect than if I had chosen it myself.
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He even thought of details I had not.
I knew it was from Him.
But soon my joy began to fade.
I realized the gift was beginning to become more important than the Giver.
What a humbling revelation!
I was making this gift more important than my love for God. How?
The gift filled my thoughts where God used to be and I was loving it more than Him.
This was idolatry. This is a violation of God’s greatest commandment — which is found in both the Old and New Testament.
When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, the first was: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
Thousands of years later Jesus said, “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).
God knows us better than we know ourselves.
We are created to worship — in fact, we need to worship because God created us that way.
Worship is giving our most extravagant respect and dedication to something or someone.
When we worship a gift more than we worship God, we rob ourselves of the ability to enjoy that gift because our disobedience takes us from the joy of His presence.
This last sentence summarizes the history of my entire life.
I’d repeatedly robbed myself of joy with the gifts God gave me — my job, family, relationships, success, possessions, etc.
Each one had been an idol at one time or another.
No more! I’d experienced God’s joy and I didn’t want to lose it to a gift that could never give me what He had.
Each of God’s gifts to us are especially tailored just for us, but He is our everlasting joy.
When we posses the joy of knowing God, we don’t ever want to worship His gifts more than Him and rob ourselves of our greatest joy.