“She knew the most important thing about her was settled, and this in turn helped to settle her heart.”
I’ve been reading Jared Wilson’s The Gospel According to Satan and came across the quote above. To give some context, the “she” in the quote is Lottie Moon, who was a missionary in China from 1873-1912. Lottie was in love with a seminary professor, who reciprocated the feelings, but that relationship was not fulfilled. Lottie said, “God had first claim on my life and since the two conflicted, there could be no question about the result.” She knew that if she entered into that relationship, for whatever reason, God would no longer be first in her life. So, she didn’t.
I think most of us can identify the ugly idols in our culture and even in our own lives. Things like the love of money, lust and pornography, or the need for control are things we can point out as obvious idols that are taking our attention away from God. Sometimes we are even good at identifying the sneaky idols that slowly steal our attention and hearts – our phones, how many likes we got on social media, or the constant want to be entertained. But what about the good idols? What about the things masquerading as gifts from God, or even more, the things that are gifts from God that we have perverted by loving the gift more than the Giver?
After reading a little bit of Lottie’s story, I felt a deep conviction, knowing that I am nowhere near this level of commitment to the Lord. While I do believe that my husband is absolutely a gift from God and that it is pleasing to God that we are joined together in marriage, I started to wonder how many times I had turned my husband into an idol. What about my kids? Jobs or volunteer positions I’ve had? I know there have been many times that I have found my identity in being a wife, a mother or in a job or my latest project instead of finding my identity in who God says I am – his child. There have been times that I have spent my days, weeks, months, years trying to satisfy and please others instead of chasing after the things that please the Lord. I have looked for my worth and approval in the things I do instead of believing that my worth comes from being created in the image of God and being bought with the blood of Christ.
Spouses, children, and jobs are all precious, wonderful gifts from God but when we start to root our identity and worth in those things, they become idols that steal our attention and devotion from God. Satan is cunning like that. He knows exactly what gifts we have been given and he knows that outside of God’s grace and mercy on us, we don’t deserve those things. So, he whispers lies in our ear making us believe we have to cling to these gifts and do everything in our power to keep them as if they are more important and are to be more cherished than the Giver Himself.
While Lottie’s commitment to the Lord is certainly commendable, the thing that kept standing out to me in the quote was the word “settled”. “The most important thing about her was settled”. Her faith was settled. Her eternity was settled. Therefore, her heart was settled. Settled- firm, established, stable, complete. Lottie was able to set aside her worldly desires, even God given and good desires, and maintain a settled heart because she knew her eternity was established.
Are you settled? If you are a believer in Jesus, then I imagine your answer is “yes”. You know that your eternity is secure through the life, death and resurrection of your Savior. But is your heart settled? Is the promise of eternity enough to make your heart content to the point of turning away from your desires and crushing your idols? This certainly doesn’t mean walking away from your spouse, children, or job; but it does mean recognizing and repenting when you have valued those things more than God. It doesn’t mean that you will never again get caught up in worldly desires; but that when you do, you rest in God’s grace and refocus your attention on him.