God didn’t take on flesh and then die on cross and resurrect from the dead so He could finish in second place. His death and resurrection clearly declare that He alone is worthy of absolute worship, pure devotion, and supreme love. To be a Christ follower means to have Christ at the center of our lives, not in the margins or in some other place so that other things can be central, and Christ marginalized. Easter is a good reminder of not only the mind-boggling work of God on our behalf but of the incredible debt of gratitude and love that He deserves from us. Anything less than absolute surrender is cheating God of what He is worthy.
As one who desires to live a Christ-centred life, I recently sat down and listed some of the ways I and others can be tempted to “cheat” God in this area of pure devotion.
I cheat God when.....
• I do not take the time I need daily to calibrate my life with His Word. It is so easy to allow things to push aside that much-needed “God time” in my life.
• The pace of my life does not allow me to live an attentive life to the voice of God speaking, nudging, or prompting me. I find that even a 10-minute time-out during a busy day can help me reframe my day and “retune my spiritual ears” to God’s voice.
• I allow ungodly thoughts or actions to find a harbour in my life. As Paul said, I am His temple, we are His temple and thus what is allowed in and what comes out (words, behaviour) need to be in keeping with His character.
• I am too proud to talk about my “battle zones” with people. God is often most glorified when I/we are willing to talk about the issues we grapple with. God works through weakness, through stories of our lives being under construction.
• I lack the courage to speak up or take action in an area in which I know He has prompted me. How many of us have failed to walk through an open door God set up for us? How many of us have missed an opportunity because we may have been afraid of looking foolish?
• I am not thorough. God is most glorified when I do my best with whatever He has called me to do. When I cut corners, leave something to the end and thus don’t do a great job, then I think God is cheated. I know it’s true that God works in spite of us but I also think that God would appreciate a little more effort at times from our end.
How might you cheat God? Scripture says not to cheat God but to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deut. 6:5)
Just after writing this, I received this poem from someone in the church. She said that God used this poem in her life when she was to busy and was not taking time for God. Thought you might appreciate this.
My day was filled with many things
Some that I cared a lot about
For I had planned each moment full
But my Lord was crowded out.
I really meant to read His Word
To pray with heart devout---
But things just crowded in until
My Lord was crowded out.
For things I wanted most to do
The time I found, without a doubt
And somehow days were oft the same;
My Lord was crowded out.
My heart grew sad without His smile
The foe was hard to rout;
For He alone who's all in all
My heart had crowded out.
At last I've learned to plan 'round Him
Though friends may plead and pout;
And days are double full and rich
Since He's not crowded out.