I’ve been asked by friends, “How do you choose God when it’s really hard to?” And when they ask me, I’m not sure what kind of answer they’re expecting. I know that I’ve asked questions in hopes of clear cut, simple answers that are right to the point so that I’ll be able to easily apply those answers to my life and obey God and live the life I’m called to live. But much like the answers that I’ve been given, I give my friends the like…
Living this Christian life is hard, amen? And I don’t say this so that we will wallow in pity or excuses. I simply want my heart to sit with yours for a moment, kind of like Job’s friends when they saw him in pain.
I want you to know that I know. I want you to know that God knows. He sees you. He loves you. He cares for you… even in those moments where you have more questions than answers… when you’re not sure how to choose Him. Even when you know how
to choose Him, but you’re really hoping for an easier way.
And honestly, I feel like that’s the place where the heart lies most often (for the Christian at least) when “wondering how to choose Him.” Thankfully, the Gospels shine a brilliant light in their answer to this question that points directly to God Himself. It’s an answer that cuts deep into the heart of man.
“Who or what do you desire above all things?”
Jesus (recorded in the Gospel of Matthew) stuns me in His teaching about the desires of the heart. He tells the listeners not to lay up for themselves treasures on earth that can be destroyed and stolen. These treasures are vulnerable and have no eternal value, and they are unlike the treasure that He commands us to seek after (the treasures in Heaven).
Not only that, but He summarizes that teaching with a statement that hopefully leaves everyone floored when they read it, and that statement is “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (see Matt. 6:19-21 ESV)
It’s a statement that can leave you speechless for a few moments. A word that teaches the listener that the heart who seeks after worldly treasure is in a very vulnerable, dangerous place.
Truly, the person rooted in these desires and hasn’t been redeemed will be destroyed along with its passions, forever seeing judgment eternal, if they do not repent. So, I want to take this moment to urge you to seek Jesus for salvation if you haven’t. And to find someone to lead you in that direction if you don’t know-how.
And for the one asking “How do I choose Him?” I’ll ask you, “where is your treasure?” Is it on earth where moth and rust will destroy, or is it in Heaven? Because that’s where your heart is.
This is the foundation for choosing God when it’s hard to. It coincides with Jesus’ teaching in John 14 where He says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15 ESV)
Who do you love more? Who do you desire more? Jesus or you?
That’s what it boils down to. It’s either His glory or ours, His desires or ours, His plans or ours. Do you treasure Him or not? It’s really that simple. And it’s very much the time, to be honest with ourselves. Who do we love above all?
And for the Christian in this moment, I hope that joy and contentment rest in your soul when you remember that you are the temple of the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. 3:16 ESV) He lives in you, and God Himself has given you everything needed for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who has called us to His own glory and excellence! (see 2 Peter 1:3 ESV)
You see, for the Christian, love for God will always return to a place that works in us a desire to choose Him above all things, even if that love seems too far gone at points. Sure, we stray, and we seek our own desires at times above His own… but we press forward. Just like the early disciples, “… we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” (Hebrews 10:39 ESV)
The ones who will never be lost again (see John 6:37-39) can pray expectantly and walk boldly in knowing that God will provide them with a love that chooses Him above all things. But it’s still up to us to choose.
So, may we be accountable to one another, encouraging one another to keep choosing Him, even when it’s hard. May we be a people that stand arm in arm for the Gospel of Christ, using all of our effort to choose Him above all things. May we lay ourselves down (with our pride and desires) for God Himself. I pray for you, and I ask that you pray for me.
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” (Hebrews 3:12-14 ESV)
Grace and Peace, Church