Could you give up everything?
Giving up. Have you ever had to give up something to gain something more, something better? Ruth gave up all she knew in Moab to move with Naomi to Bethlehem, a city she did not know. I wonder, how willing i would be to go where I have never been? To love enough to cling to a God I was only beginning to know.
Ruth is an amazing woman of Scripture. While her story is also Naomi's story, we see Ruth standing out as someone who risked everything for something she could not see. Did not know - yet.
Life is full of challenges, isn't it? Every phase of life brings risk and change and the older I get the less I like those changes. But you know what? God is there in the risks. God is in the challenge and in the change. And He is seeking people who will come to Him, want Him, and allow Him to teach them in the middle of the challenge.
I'll be honest. I've faced a lot of challenges these past few years. I've been placed in positions I would never have chosen. And sometimes I look heavenward and wonder, "couldn't we have taken a different path?" If I were doing the choosing, this would look different than it does.
But it doesn't. And it isn't. And that's okay, because God is in the challenge. And as Ruth discovered, He is worth anything we might have to give up.
Yeah. Anything. If we put other things above Him - make them more important than Him in our hearts? We will find Him jealously pursuing us, because He wants to be our heart's greatest desire. And that might mean giving up other things. Other people. Other longings. He wants no other gods to rule our hearts.
As Christians, we tend to skip over those first two commandments about having other gods or worshiping idols. That was for those times, not ours. But was it? Are we not just as susceptible as the ancients were in putting other things, other goals, other people above our love for God?
When Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself," He really didn't leave any wiggle room for us to love someone or something above God His Father. Either He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.
And yeah, that's been my struggle these past few years. I never thought I could slip someone else or something else into God's place as most important in my life. But when someone else is causing us to change our behavior or mood by their actions? We're giving them too much power to control us. And that's a warning sign - a big red flag that God is no longer our first love.
Giving up things I thought would always be part of my life is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Giving up a life I expected to be mine but isn't leaves me asking "why"? Perhaps you see my career and think - what is she talking about? But you see, we all have our private side and God is in those private moments - in our homes, with our family, among our friends. It's there where we face our biggest challenges. Maybe for some it is giving up a longed for career. We all walk a different path.
But God wants the other gods that war for space in our hearts to lose all potential to take His rightful place as the true Lord of our life.
Ruth realized that the gods of Moab were not even remotely comparable to the God of Israel, Naomi's God. She wanted the God her mother-in-law knew. And she gave up all to have Him.
Are we willing to do the same?