Read His Words Before Ours!
Destruction screamed around them. Smoldering fires of neighboring cities singed the air. Certain captivity loomed like a hawk circling its prey. The sounds of war grew ever closer, threatening all life.
But Jerusalem. She partied on. Ignoring it all. She played dress-up, flaunting royal robes, continuing her game of vanity and pride, faking that all was well. She covered up the stench of death with a gaudy appearance. Despite the hundreds of years of warnings to return to the Lord, she carried on, pretending as if she were only a child playing dress-up, oblivious to anything but the image she wanted to see.
She was playing at life while her heart was dead.
Her destruction was certain and it did come, ruthless and relentless, the consequence of centuries of hardening her heart against her one true Lover, the Lord God Almighty.
Dire isn’t it?
The vivid picture of destruction in Jeremiah 4 is awful, but far removed from us.
Or is it?
Paul, in Ephesians 4, urges us not to walk any longer in futility, in emptiness, in darkness, or with hardened hearts.
Suddenly, the imagery of Jeremiah 4 hits closer to home.
“They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality,
greedy to practice every kind of impurity.” (Eph 4:19)
The flaunting of self-importance, the stench of arrogance, parading like we really have it all together, but underneath,
we know we are faking at life while our hearts are dead.
Desperate to cover it all up,
we hide behind smiles,
Pinterest cute kids,
and the picture perfect life.
Or maybe our pride looks different.
Perhaps we wear it as a badge of honor that we “don’t have to wear cute clothes” or that we are “humble” enough to focus on others instead of taking care of ourselves.
But both are pride.
Both are shams we create as we slowly build up calloused hearts,
feigning beauty while we play with ashes.
It’s easy to become disillusioned and get sidetracked from the God who sees us as exquisite treasures. Every time we compare, every time we aren’t satisfied (or when we are too satisfied), when we find ourselves “beautifying” our lives for others’ approval…tiny steps, each walking slowly away from the One who holds the secret to our Beauty and our fulfillment.
Still the Lord’s voice calls out; whispering, beckoning, pleading,
“Return! Come away with me, my beloved!
Leave these loves you bow down to,
but look at how empty they leave you!
Let me embrace you with my fullness.”
Paul says it like this,
“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self,
created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
(Eph 4:22-24, emphasis mine)
Like coming out of a reverie, shaking our heads to clear our thoughts,
look around and see the game for what it is.
There is no depth without life in Jesus.
There is no meaning without His purposes in our hearts.
The beauty we try to create is a fleeting shadow unless we allow Him to clothe us in His righteousness.
His garment will never fade, only becoming more precious the more often we wear it.
The beauty of a heart that returns to Jesus, the true Lover, is like unleashing the dam,
allowing abundant fresh life to flood our weary souls.
Trade your disguises for the richness of His royal robes!
Return as His beloved!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!