What does this reveal about me? I value acceptance and affirmation from others more than God. I want people to like me. I also have a tendency to elevate performance to an unhealthy level, mostly due to my desire to be accepted and affirmed.
Here’s the point. The “gods” I am tempted to pursue are acceptance, affirmation and fame. When I place these in front of the true God, I am cheating on him. Thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient, and he forgives me. But I must destroy these “gods” for my relationship with God to reach deeper levels of intimacy.
So, what triggers worry, anxiety and depression in your life? (Check out these Bible verses for depression.)
Heart’s Desire Question #4: Who in your life can you not forgive and why?
Some of you have experienced unimaginable pain. I remember talking with a young man when I lived in Mississippi. He explained, in graphic detail, being sexually abused from the time he was a small child. As I listened to him, my heart overflowed with sadness and anger. How could someone do this to a child? How?
Even though I can’t empathize with his particular pain, I empathize with his general pain (if that makes sense). The world is broken. People will hurt you. Many times these people are the ones we love, trust and respect most. And when you are hurt, you have to make a decision. Will you forgive or harbor animosity and bitterness?
And forgiveness isn’t words. Anyone can say, “I forgive you.” Forgiveness is letting go. Letting go of the false power that comes with refusing to forgive. Letting go of the bitterness and animosity. This is essential for those who love God. He is the author of forgiveness. And if he is the most important relationship in your life, you must be able to look at someone who hurt you and say (as Jesus did), “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
It might take weeks, months or years, but if God is first, you must come to a place where you release the power of revenge, bitterness and anger toward someone else.
Heart’s Desire Question #5: When you are stressed, where do you turn for relief?
Americans are overcome with stress. And while some stress is normal (this is called stage 1 stress), other types of stress are incredibly toxic.
What is your medication for stress? Where do you turn to relieve stress?
Alcohol? Shopping? Medication? Sex? Drugs? Video games? Notice some of these “medications” are obviously dangerous (alcohol and drugs). Others seem harmless (shopping and video games). But anytime your “medication” isn’t God, you are corroding your heart. You are hardwiring it to rely on something that can’t fill the void.
To say it another way, the “what” of where you turn to relieve stress isn’t as important as the “why.”
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” is a declaration from Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30). Ironically, this is often the same message we hear from other “gods.”
“I am really stressed, let’s go enjoy some retail therapy.”
“It’s been a long week, let’s grab a case of beer and forget about our worries.”