Articles and thoughts by Steve Green.
I have good friends who deal on a daily basis with the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder. Things like distractibility, short attention span, impulsivity or restlessness. The only proper response is compassion and understanding. This morning, it dawned on me that most all of us suffer from another variety of attention deficit. Our souls are concave, self-absorbed, longing for attention. The cry of our hearts is, “please notice me and love me.” That cry is legitimate. We are made for intimacy and desperate for it. In the beginning, God expressed his glorious generosity saying, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”, creating Adam and Eve to be image-bearers to image forth God’s glory in relationship, first with himself, and then with his creatures and creation.
The Fall, that massive intrusion of sin and death into God’s creation was the perversion, pollution and disintegration of relationship. Genesis 3 narrates the undoing of sinless and shameless relationships and the beginning of our brokenness, hiding and blaming.
Mercifully, at that very moment, God promised a provision in the coming of Messiah, and then gave Adam and Eve a picture of the gospel, covering their shame and clothing them. The rest of the story is that Christ took our shame, our reproach , and our nakedness, on the cross so that we could be restored, healed and clothed in His own righteousness.
Still, we are a community of wounded and broken people, being made whole, beginning to discover that our story only has significance as we find our place in the greater narrative of God’s redemptive story. The real war is over your heart and mine. Where will we go to fill the ache, the longing, the restlessness of our broken hearts? While much has been said in the church about repenting of individual sins, what about the deeper root of idolatry? Idolatry is my attempt to save myself, to secure comfort, control, acceptance and significance apart from God. Idols can take the form of food, exercise, clothes, appearance, alcohol, relationships, sex, power, impressive religious ferver, and a host of other things. All idols will eventually fail us. They begin by seducing us (promising fulfillment), then lead to dependence and addiction, then they hurt and mock us.
Like me, do you need to hear the healing strains of the gospel again? Zephaniah 3:14-17 “Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, ‘Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.’”
Let God’s Word uncover your trembling unbelief. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you. Oh, how our restless hearts need to be stilled and quieted. All your life you know what it is to perform to be loved. You have used your charm to get attention. You have fearfully held on to and served your idols. Rest now. Listen. The One who knows you best and loves you most rejoices over you with singing. Could it be true? Shhh… Just listen.
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