Last month I was listening to a series on Nancy Leigh DeMoss's program "Revive our Hearts." (As I recall, I was ironing. Podcasts are one of the best ways I've found to make the most out of time spent doing certain household chores. By the time I've ironed a week's worth of clothes or scrubbed the kitchen, I've heard some wise, wise words... and the time really flies!) The programs I heard were a replay of a program featuring the late Ray Ortlund, who had been Nancy's pastor while she was in college. The week's program was an interview with him and his wife, Anne. It was so interesting. During it, they mentioned his book Lord, Make My Life A Miracle. I picked it up on Amazon pretty cheaply (I saw it there today for a penny!) and since it is quite small I've stuck it in my purse. This week during our marathon of doctor visits to get all of our physicals I was glad to have it with me. (It doesn't draw quite as much attention as I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla and it fits into my purse better than Systematic Theology!)
In the second chapter he discusses being "God-centered" and how to practice God's presence throughout everyday. He quoted one of my favorite verses:
"Isaiah 26:3 says this to us, 'Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.' That's practicing the Presence my friend. That's holding God in central place in your heart."
Just when I was mentally nodding my head in agreement and thinking about how much I love that verse, he went on to make what I think is an excellent point, and one that I needed to read:
"And here's another snare: even as we think about being God-centered, our tendency is to want it "for me"- so I can have this "perfect peace"- and "I" am still in the center! I want the experience because it will make me a top-quality, grade-A Christian on the top of the pile- and at that point God is not attended to and waited upon and sought for what He is. Oh, our motives, our motives."
I have been startled as I have been working through the questions in Martha Peace's book, Attitudes of a Transformed Heart, how much I have been influenced by the "Man Most High" theology that has subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) permeated much of what is being taught today. This quote from Ortlund's book highlights that. So much of the time, we are seeking God for what He can do for us... to meet our need to feel worthy or significant, or to feel better or be happier. I know I have done this. I know at times I still do this! Oh, my motives, my motives.
I'll close with a quote from Peace:
"What about you? Are you seeking to use God so you can feel better, be happy, and be somebody special or of worth or are you seeking to glorify Daniel's "great God Most High?" How you grow and mature as a Christian is at stake. Last and most important of all, the glory and honor of God is at stake. "