"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart." Deuteronomy 6:4-6
How many of us walk around saying that we love God. I think most of us. It's easy, we say we love God, we love to worship Him, we love going to church. But do we really love God? Really?
Is God more important than the football game that starts at noon?
Is God more important than checking your Facebook status? How about all those little Facebook games and quizzes that eat your precious time?
Is God more important than fishing at the lake?
Is God more important than catching the latest episode of Deadliest Catch, CSI or House?
Is God more important than reading the latest book in that fantasy series?
Is God more important than catching up on the news headlines?
Is God more important than going shopping to buy the latest craft gizmo that everyone says is a must-have?
These are all really tough questions, because the truth is that we're just not there yet! But God wants it so much! When we find ourselves with some extra time in the day what do we do? Honestly, if most of you are like me, you find your way to the computer to look something up or check your Facebook news feed. Check your e-mail just one more time. Or check out your farm town, which starts out as just a second or two, but before you know it, an entire hour has passed, and you have other things to do.
Meanwhile, God is there. He sees you finish the task at hand, He sees you glance at your Bible on the way to the computer, and then He waits. He waits in anticipation, as He knows that you intend to just sit down for a second and then you'll spend some time with Him. But time ticks, you click on a few more things, and just like that, your free time is over and the Bible still sits where it was before. God's anticipation has long since waned, and He's gone back to waiting, with a shake of His head, because He knows what He wants to say to you. He wants to spend time with you so badly, but you just can't seem to find that time. And even though you've just spent a couple of hours wasting your time on stupid things, God is patient, and waits for the day that you make the move towards Him.
We just can't say that we love God when it's more important for us to sit down at the computer and check our e-mail. Truly. What does it say to God when I have some spare time to spend with Him, and instead I choose to spend it moving crops around on my farmtown, or worse, whacking other mobsters on mafia wars. Really?
I had a God dream last night... one of the things that I've noticed about God dreams, for myself, is that when I have one, I wake from it almost right away. That gives me some time to think on it for a minute, whisper a prayer about it, etc, before drifting back off to sleep. The thing about last night's dream though is that it didn't make any sense to me at all. In fact, I'd actually discarded it as a God dream, thinking that a noise had woken me suddenly. Until I started typing this morning. God works in mysterious ways.
In my dream, my husband was having an affair. (See, I said it didn't make any sense!) The thing was, that instead of going berserk or being all psycho on him, we discussed the matter, we were working things out, and were completely calm and rational while trying to figure out how to deal with the situation. I was definitely hurting and saddened by the situation, but I wasn't angry in the least. (Again, doesn't make sense!)It really was a strange dream. But now that I've been talking about spending time with God, I totally see where the dream was going.
When I choose to sit down at the computer or the TV or in front of a book instead of spending time with God, I am having an affair. I am cheating on my beloved. When I choose to spend my precious few morning minutes with the Wall Street Journal instead of God, I am cheating on my God. When I go throughout my day and week moving from frivolous thing to frivolous thing, I am creating an even bigger chasm in my relationship with God. And while I'm doing this, my God is being hurt and saddened, and for what? Really, think about that, for what? Is my farm town farm really going to affect me eternally? If I didn't check in on my message boards today, the earth really would keep moving.
What I remember feeling in my dream was incredible patience on my end. Like I was waiting for Andy to stop his bad behavior, but while I was waiting I was just going to be patient and wait. And that's exactly what God is doing. God is waiting and being patient, and He's watching us. And when the moment finally comes, when the moment comes where we turn to Him and say "you know what, this has got to stop" then he will exude that patience and love. He will turn to us and work with us to stop the behavior that is hindering our relationship.
God just wants us! He wants to love on us, and He wants us to love Him in return. He wants our hearts, our souls, and our minds- He wants a real relationship with us. A relationship that we can't nurture if we aren't willing to put in the time.
You know, I can't help but add this little bit, because it's something that I've just noticed about people's behavior. I am getting to the point where I can tell when someone is not spending enough time with God. (I do mean people that are close to me- not just complete strangers.) It's amazing to watch someone who walks with God start to become frazzled, they get anxious or stressed or even short with those around them. You can ask what's going on and they'll give you a long list of things going wonky in their life, but it really all comes down to that one thing. When I can gently ask them if they're spending their quiet time with God. The answer is almost always a resounding silence, followed by excuses for busy-ness. That's usually my cue to pray for that person, and I can only hope that they decide to make the time to spend with God, because that always seems to be the cure.
Really, if you're spending time with God each and every day, the everyday stresses and obstacles just seem so trivial and so much smaller. The more time you spend with God, the more you become transformed to think more like God, and you start to think more on an eternal scale. Those computer games are a blip compared to eternity- so why bother. The horse races are a blip compared to eternity- so why does it really matter who won?
I'm not saying this all to say that God doesn't want us to have fun. I believe with all my heart that He wants us to enjoy life, and sometimes that can be through computers, TV, movies and newspapers and such. But it's making those things a priority every day when we can't even squeeze God in where they are a problem. The kids and I will start the school year next week. I would be an awful teacher, and probably ruin them if I let them just play video games instead of doing their schoolwork. But a video game here and there may not be such a bad thing, in fact, it may be helpful to break up their school day with some time where they don't have to think as hard, or where they can just relax.
God loves us. God loves me. He is my beloved, and I am His.
"Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
is my lover among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
4 He has taken me to the banquet hall,
and his banner over me is love.
5 Strengthen me with raisins,
refresh me with apples,
for I am faint with love.
6 His left arm is under my head,
and his right arm embraces me." Song of Solomon 2:3-6
I wouldn't tell my husband that I don't want to spend time with him because I'd rather be sitting at my computer playing solitaire. I would choose to shut off the computer and spend time with him. Why would I do any less for my God? I pray that He can help me be mindful of my time. I pray for all those who are reading this with me this morning, because I know we all could use help in this area. May God bless each and every one of you, and may he show you gently where it is that you should edit to spend time with Him. He is worth it. He is worth every second of every day.