Take Your Sandals Off
“Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy.”
~ Psalm 43:3-4 (NLT)
A Rainstorm is Not Enough
An unprecedented heat wave struck the Northwest recently, temperatures above 110°, compounding an extended drought. The land is parched, a tinderbox. You needn’t be an arborist to know that the trees are crying out for refreshment. As welcome as a large rainstorm would be, most of the rains would quickly run off before delivering deep relief, perhaps leaving a path of damage in the process. More is needed.
Though seldom acknowledged, an even greater drought is upon many of us. Our souls are parched. Desperate, we’ll try anything to find just a little relief: toys, experiences, travel, drinks, sex, drugs…even more subtle things like TV or food. A glance at Facebook reveals how our culture has glamorized our escapes. Yet they all fall short. Gaining only a breather, we find ourselves parched still.
Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?”
Proverbs 23:31-35 (NLT)
Unrefreshed and often damaged, like sheep to slaughter, we return to the same sources in hope this next time will be the trick. Alas, a rainstorm is not enough. More is needed.
Light, Truth, Fear
It’s not a matter of not knowing that the worldly paths we choose cannot refresh. Why then? Convenience? Familiarity? Immediacy? Lack of self-control? All of these play a role. Could fear be the driver?
The Psalmist courageously calls for God to send his light and truth to guide the way to true refreshment. Really? Who wants to expose themselves in such a pure light? Instead, we prefer to build walls; pride, shame, anger, jealously… all form between us and God. Fear keeps us arms-length at best from the one and only source of enduring refreshment.
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”
The Apostle John | 1 John 4:18
Though we say we do, do we really trust God? How could he love us so much, unconditionally? Surely God will punish us, shame us, for our imperfections, our gaffs… Isn’t that what a father does? Fearful, we’ll do everything we can to avoid the anticipated punishment, or at least the embarrassment of full exposure. Parched, our extended drought leads us to drink from anything we can, even if it causes us damage in the process.
Take Your Sandals Off
How long will you keep trying to be refreshed by things that can’t refresh? Has the Lord caught your attention yet?
“When the Lord saw that he had caught Moses’ attention, God called to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am!” Moses replied.
“Do not come any closer,” God told him. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.”
Exodus 3:4-5 (NLT)
What’s strange is that most all of us would say, “God already knows everything I’ve ever done, both good and bad.” If God knows and we know, what’s the big deal? Pretending to be strong with our acts pulled together, we detest feeling vulnerable. We hate the idea of taking our sandals off and exposing our bare feet.
Think of where those sandals have been; what they have walked through. How could God allow such dreck in his presence? Our sandals must be left at the altar. The Psalmist takes us to the alter of God; the place of sacrifice. We are called to lay ourselves down in front of him, vulnerably, humbly; to dump everything so we can come into his presence.
God wants you to take the active step to admit your weakness, bow low, pray for mercy and remove your dirty sandals. Then you can experience deep intimacy with God and he will fill you with the enduring refreshment that only he can provide. O how he longs for this! Intimacy with you is his #1 desire.
Deepening your intimacy with God is the first step into and the ultimate goal of living out the Adventure God Made You for. Our Reach New Peaks Guided Workshop leads you there. It will change your life, guaranteed.
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