Monday, October 2

The false god of "personal time"

Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; --Deuteronomy 6:14 (NIV)

When I am feeling overwhelmed, I like to retreat into my own personal space and take time away from the busyness. I refer to this as "taking a mental health day" or "spending quality time with 'me'." Although there is certainly nothing wrong with stepping back and taking a much deserved break every now and then, I have found that I am tempted to abuse the opportunity to take a Sabbath rest.

By spending a weekend engrossed in personal activities, rather than actively denying my own wishes in order to focus on God, I am worshipping at the feet of a graven image. The false god of "personal time", like all other false gods, is an empty substitute for the one true God. No matter how rested and rejuvenated I may feel physically after a personal day, I have to be careful not to allow my body's physical desires to take precedence over what my heart and soul truly need.

I need to spend time with God on His terms, in His presence. This involves attending church regularly and faithfully. It means that no matter how wonderful and cozy it may be, a restful weekend at home with my husband is not an appropriate substitute for coming into the presence of the Lover of my Soul. A nap on the couch on a Sunday afternoon is not the same as true, worshipful and obedient, Sabbath rest.

Fortunately, the false god of personal time is easily eradicated. It is powerless, intangible and inanimate. The one true God, the maker of time, the creator of seasons, and the one to whom a moment is like a day, can fill me with his power and restore my soul far better than any personal retreat or "mental health day" ever could. That sounds like a much more restful, not to mention appropriate, form of worship. The peace that God provides to those who are obedient to his commands is blissful and sweet. Nothing and no one else can even begin to offer such peace.

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