I wanted to take a post to expand and reflect on God's faithfulness in my walk. Where I was and what I was holding onto before He grabbed my heart and made me new:
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in
you; I will remove from you your heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26
In a nutshell, my hardened heart was full of sin: I was enjoying the creation more than the Creator. And it was undoubtedly making me an earthly, material-focused person. I thought a huge element of life's journey was about success as reflected in my bank account; I was (and continue to be) surrounded by bright shiny material goods: the newest models of cars, beautiful homes, designer clothes, shoes, handbags...some areas of the U.S. definitely have this more than others.
And I was very quickly finding a close friendship with this world. My grip was getting tighter and tighter on things of this world which are temporary. My grip was getting so tight that it was directing and consuming my life. I was starting to focus so much on that, that my earthly standing was becoming where I put my hope instead of in the Lord. I was leaving behind the moments, the experiences, that God was giving me to know and glorify Him. I was missing out on the relationship with God that He created me to have.
"Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." James 4:4
This verse is a parallel to Matthew 19:24. While they may mean different things specifically, they both reinforce the same thing to me: When I associate myself so closely to the things of this world, I idolize those things and become prideful and glorify MYSELF. When I do that, I risk not humbling myself to needing God, and not truly knowing my need for my Savior. Pride, self-glorification (with wealth or otherwise) and being too earthly can ultimately cause my separation further from God, living a life without His conviction and repentance. On top of it, I found it is an extremely dissatisfying way to live once I saw the light in the alternative.
I will still work hard; I will congratulate my husband when he has successes in his career. I will still gratefully enjoy a new pair of shoes, a new piece of jewelry or the smell of a new car if I get a different one someday - and I will continue to thank God for all gifts here on earth. But God (p.s. these are some of the absolute best words you can find next to each other in the Bible) has shown me how to shield my heart from that false idol. He gifted me the grace and the necessary conviction to let go of what I was holding on to and putting my hope in, and He allowed my heart to draw nearer to know Jesus as my hope and stay. I continue to pray for my heart to align with His in all that I do; that I do not fear man and get caught up with my perceived status here on earth. For I am only passing through. My greatest and permanent treasure is waiting for me: