“THE MYSTERY CONSISTS NOT IN BRINGING ANYTHING FROM OUTSIDE TO MAKE MY CONDITION MORE COMFORTABLE, BUT IN PURGING OUT SOMETHING THAT IS WITHIN.“
‘ Suppose a man has a fever, that makes what he drinks taste bitter: he says, ‘You must put some sugar into my drink’; his wife puts some in, and still the drink tastes bitter. Why? Because the bitterness comes from a bitter choleric humor within.
“It is just the same with men of the world: Oh such a mercy added to this mercy, then it would be sweet; but even if God should put a spoonful or two of sugar in, it would still be bitter. The way to contentment is to purge out your lusts and bitter humours.”
‘From whence are wars, and strifes? are they not from your lusts that are within you?’ (James 4:1).
“They are not so much from things outside, but from within. I have said sometimes, ‘Not all the storms that are abroad can make an earthquake, but the vapours that have got within.’ So if those lusts that are within, in your heart, were got out, your condition would be a contented condition.”
In Matthew 15:11, Jesus was explaining to the Pharisees that, it is ” Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” He went on to say:
18 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
This is so important to grasp.
MY EYES OPENED
Just the other day, I started reading a book called “No Other Gods” by Kelly Minter. It is such an eye opener about idolatry and it goes in depth about the whole issue of idols in our heart that we are trusting in to satisfy us. God used the book to open my eyes to something I had never seen before in a particular situation that I face. I believe this is a prevalent issue these days, so I will go ahead and share my story and experience with it so far…..
My husband was married before me, and had 2 children with his ex-wife. Going into my marriage, I honestly had no idea what I was going to be dealing with along these lines. Although his ex-wife lives a very far distance away, she is ever present in our life. I don’t intend to “bash” her or anything, so I will try to explain it from how I feel, instead of highlighting all the things she may have done “wrong”.
Simply said, I have had hidden bitterness toward her for a while now. When the thought of me having to go send her child support arises, I start boiling. When the thought of her trying to talk to my husband about anything other than their children arises, I start boiling. When I catch her in a lie, I start boiling. When I think about how much it isn’t fair that my husband doesn’t even get to see his kids because of all her control issues, I boil.
So, when I read this quote by Tim Keller in Kelly Minter’s book:
“Idolatry is attached to all our bitterness, impurity, malice, problems, everything that troubles us is a result of idolatry!”
it was as if my eyes opened like I had just been blind my whole life.
And since I had lately been praying about my attitude towards my husband’s ex-wife, and asking God to reveal to me why I felt such bitterness, I knew this was HIM answering my prayers.
And I suddenly realized some hidden things that I was idolizing in my heart and desiring more than Christ:
- His ex-wife disappearing in order for me to find peace and contentment
- Christ Jesus has not been enough, I need her to be gone in order to be ok!
- My husband being ONLY mine and no one else’s–I would have liked to have been his only wife in this life, but I am not
My thoughts went like this:
- I have been trusting in her to disappear in order to satisfy my heart and bring preace in my heart and life and marriage
- If only she was gone forever, I’d be happy
- If only my husband never married her and had 2 kids with her, then i’d be happy
- If only he didn’t have to give her *OUR* money, then I’d be ok
- If only I was his first wife-then I could be so happy!
- If only he had kids with ME, then I could be at peace
- If only she treated us right, then I could be ok
- Christ isn’t enough, I need all of this to be content
Head hangs low.
Wow. I was just as shocked as you probably are right now when I realized what was TRULY in my heart!
I had to admit and confess to God that I truly believed that these things would make my life better and that I’d truly be content if they happened! And it became clear that my heart was truly set upon my husband, and his past. I want his devotion. I want him ALL to MYSELF! I’ve wanted him more than anything else.
That is plain IDOLATRY! Only Jesus Christ is worthy of my heart, my devotion, my love, my everything. My heart is made to desire God above ALL THINGS, and to seek HIM alone to satisfy the longings of my heart!!!
I CAN’T LOVE HER IN MY FLESH
When someone or something is seemingly standing in our way to what we believe would bring us true contentment, we will become very bitter and angry!!!!
If I have this bitterness towards her in my heart, I can not be at peace and content. God will not pour His Spirit into my heart when I am harboring bitterness and anger towards someone. The only way I could ever show this woman love is if I have released all these idols, and have been filled with God’s spirit! It is Christ dwelling in my heart that can love her, I can not.
And it also shed new light on her. I now can see that she is held captive by satan to do his will. She is stuck in idolatry of all kinds, and she is getting bitter and angry towards us when WE ‘get in the way’ of what SHE thinks she needs in order to be ok.
And now I can truly pray and ask God to open her blinded eyes, and to show her the truth, and to lead her to repentance and new life in Christ Jesus. And I can send her the money, and I can pray for her, knowing that God is in control, and that God has allowed all of this to happen, and He has his own purposes behind all of this. And I am at peace.
The bitterness is purged out of my heart, and I am content.
I can not be at peace when there is anything other than the Spirit of Christ dwelling in my heart, and producing the fruit of His Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.