Time to Trade

Sometimes I have a rare moment when I see things so clearly. It's like I get a glimpse into the heart of God and I wonder why in the world I ever saw things differently. So many things in this life of following Jesus seem so gray to us at times, and we spend our time and energy trying to put a hard and fast line on the ground so that we can tiptoe right up to it without feeling guilty and stop just shy of crossing it so that we can feel good about ourselves without actually giving of ourselves.

It's all really pathetic when you think about it. It's like God says, "Here's my storeroom full of the treasures of the universe. Take whatever you like. It's all for you." We walk to the door, take a quick look around, and pick up the smallest item that's closest to our feet, because something else might be too heavy to carry with us or might require us to move from our comfortable spot to reach it or might take up too much of our time and we've got places to be. Insanity is what it is.

And don't you think it makes God a little sad? He gave His Son so that we might experience the riches of His grace, but we barely give it any thought and just ask Him to give us a list of rules we can keep so we know we'll make the cut at the end of this life. He wants to give us so much, be we want so little.

I know I've shared from Psalm 81 before, but it's such a beautiful look into the heart of God. He reminds His people of all He'd done to deliver them and then it seems as though He's almost begging them to keep following Him. "I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it," He says to them. And then, "Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes." Then He says that "he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

This morning, as I thought of two areas in particular that we choose to give ourselves to the things of this world and chase after idols instead of after God Himself, my heart broke, just as it seems His heart does. I was reminded of Jesus' lament over the city that He had chosen, but that was about to kill Him. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!"

The Lord has no need of us. He is complete, holy, and eternal with or without us. But He loves us so. And because of that love for us, He wants to give us the best of the best. We just seem so intent on settling for less.

Two areas where I know I've been guilty of chasing after idols are money (and the pleasure and security it can buy) and physical appearance. These two things seem to be so pervasive in the church that we can all look around at one another, who all claim to be followers of Jesus, and justify our actions. Everyone else is doing it. Surely if she's doing it, it's okay for me to do it. Money isn't evil. We're supposed to take care of our temple and want to look nice, right?

We've been so deceived by the enemy that we don't even realize the bondage we're living in. I worry about money (though not nearly as much as I used to). I often think of it as mine rather than God's. I dream of what I'll one day be able to do on this earth with the extra money I think that I'll have. I wonder if we've set aside enough to be secure down the road. I get bummed when I can't spend money on things that people around me are getting to enjoy.

All sounds pretty normal, right?

During any given day, more of my thoughts than I care to admit are consumed with my weight or perceived appearance. I find myself lamenting my "trouble areas" and comparing my body to that of other women. I plan what I should eat that day and then mentally beat myself up when I don't go by the plan (which I never do). When I'm having a "fat day," it's very likely that I'll show much less patience with my children and husband. As my mind wanders to my dissatisfaction with my body, my heart veers further and further away from contentment and gratitude. I end up criticizing myself over and over for my lack of self-control.

Sounds pretty horrible (but maybe kinda normal, too), right?

This is not the Lord's best for us. We say we trust Him, but we want to have all our financial ducks in a row so that we don't have to live by faith in Him. We say that the Lord looks at the heart, not the outward appearance, and so do we, but we let our perception (or the reality) of our physical appearance affect our mood, monopolize our thoughts, and many times dictate the way we spend our time and money.


That's what it is, and it's heartbreaking. I'm not trying to shake my finger at myself or anyone else. I'm not trying to make up a new list of rules that we've already broken. I'm trying to remind myself that this is not the way I was meant to live. This is not the life Jesus died for me to have. He wants life abundant for me, and this ain't the road to that life.

He longs to gather us to Himself, whisper His love to us, free us from the bondage to this deceptive sin, and give us the power to live the lives He meant for us to live. Lives that matter. Lives full of joy, peace, love, hope. Lives that make a difference to other people. Lives that are poured out, spent, lost...only to gain what is infinitely greater. Lives that are not focused on storing up treasure here on this earth bound for flames or fixing up our earthly tent which will soon pass away. This life is meant to be an investment in the next. It's time we start putting ourselves into eternal things and let all this dust return to dust.

In the end, I want life with Jesus, not a pile of burnt up dust. So it's time to trade in my idols for the One True God. Seems like a pretty good trade to me.


  1. WOW Amy! I can SO relate. As a formal anorexic, I can especially relate to struggling over the weight issue,
    although God has broken some serious chains off of me already.Your post reminds me, there's still work to be done. Yes, I could be even more free! :))

  2. Exactly! I'm going to go back and read this again when my face gets all wrinkly and I feel the need for a face lift.


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