Today’s “How He Loves” post is from Grant Jenkins, aka An Idol Heart. Grant is a fellow Cross Pointer who I met via twitter and blogging several months before our paths crossed “in real life.” I admire how Grant publicly wrestles with finding peace, purpose, and self-worth in Christ. Alone.
Find his blog here.
fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions
He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight and wind of his mercy
I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was the week of January 11, 2010 when God, in His great mercy, allowed me to see the condition of my heart. The jig was up.
Finally, after 8 months of becoming increasingly aware that I had allowed my career to become an idol in my heart … after 8 months of trying to act like I could still make it work… after 8 months of trying to hold band-aids on an open wound… I broke.
I broke hard.
My chest was tight.
My breath was shallow.
My mind and emotions were in a tailspin.
What words I did speak were spoken through tears
The thought of taking one more step in the direction I had been headed was overwhelming.
What had I become?
Whatever it was, it was not pretty.
The part of me that knew this was coming was relieved it was finally here. The part of me that wanted desperately to keep feeding the image monster and project the appearance of success was scared to death.
Who would I be now?
It didn’t matter. I just knew I no longer wanted to be THIS.
In what seemed like an instant, I deeply understood what God meant when He said Israel had “played the whore.” It wasn’t that they didn’t love Him. It was that they didn’t love him MORE. It was that they had placed him on a level playing field with all their self-made gods, and their affections were up for grabs.
In that moment, I vividly understood the picture God was painting by telling Hosea to go marry Gomer the prostitute.
“The Lord said to Hosea, Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord” Hosea 1:2
He was using Hosea’s story to show us how He felt loving His people. Marrying Gomer the prostitute wasn’t anything special in and of itself. People get married all the time. The weight of the story is that he LOVED her. Those are two very different things. God wanted Hosea to know how it felt to love someone who was unfaithful, be committed to someone who wasn’t committed in return and to be a father to children he didn’t produce. He was teaching Hosea the righteous jealousy of an unfaithful, unrequited love that was rightfully his.
That was me.
On this particular day, for the first time ever in my life, I could feel the weight of my whorish heart in the light of the jealousy of God.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” Exodus 20:4-5
He was jealous for me.
It wasn’t that I didn’t love God…
It was that I didn’t love him MORE than all that other crap that I had allowed to accumulate in my heart. It was that He was competing for my affections with what I thought made me look good and gave me the appearance of success. I had fallen more in love with what had been given to me than with the One who gave it.
I was at once both undone and done. Completely.
Have you ever considered what it means for God to be jealous for you? He is the jealous lover of our souls, who looks on in bewilderment, confusion and disappointment as we flirt with and allow our hearts to be seduced by lesser lovers who have no legal or spiritual claim to what we are so quick to freely give.
He sees the way your heart flutters when it catches the gaze of the latest would-be suitor who speaks eloquently of security and promises hope; and He sees you lying broken on the floor in a pool of disillusionment, as once again, disappointed, dejected and detached, you struggle to pry your heart away from another broken promise and unfulfilled dream that you foolishly tried to replace Him with. He sees it all… and yet He waits… and loves in spite of your whorish heart’s attempts to attach hope to something it can see.
God is not jealous OF you. He doesn’t want your stuff.
He is jealous FOR you. He wants your heart. It is His. He made it for Himself.
What is He having to dig through to get to it?
He loves us, Oh, how He loves us!