My Advent Reading this afternoon prompted my thinking. Piper pointed out that the Wise Men gave gifts, not because Jesus needed them, and not because the Wise Men hoped to gain something from Jesus, but because they recognized that He is the superior treasure.
Piper said their actions declared, “I have not come to you for things, but for yourself. And this desire I now intensify, and demonstrate by giving up things, in the hope of enjoying you more. By giving you what you do not need, and what I might enjoy, I am saying more earnestly, more authentically, ‘You are my treasure, not these things.’ ”
My gut responded as it often does when I read things like that- it got all twisty and sort of cringe like. God has been revealing this same thing to me for some time- I love things more than I love Him. I love being comfortable and cushy more than I love Him. This is not a shame thing- He’s not putting my nose down in my poop so to speak. But He is revealing what needs to be brought to light. How can you admit, how do you say to someone, “I am sorry I don’t love you more than my stuff”? How do you say “I know you are more special than I realize, but I just can’t seem to get my mind around it?”
I am so thankful that Jesus already knows my thoughts. That means I don’t have to be afraid to tell them to Him. I’m not afraid of giving Him the bad news that I don’t love Him as much as He loves me, or as much as I should. I don’t have to fear His response or be afraid of hurting His feelings. He already knows it all and He’s still in love with me. He is still inviting me in closer.
As I sat confessing what He was showing me, I didn’t really know what else to say. So I just asked Him,
“Jesus, please make me like the wise men.
Please make me willing to leave a comfortable place, leave my home, leave wherever, if it means getting closer to You.
Please make me willing, not just willing, but wanting, to give up things. Things that make me comfortable or happy, or even things that make me feel secure.
Help me to give you my “treasures” not just because you deserve them, but because my heart recognizes your true worth. Help me to find you precious because you ARE.
Make me like the wise men who were overjoyed to find you. Who could not believe their fortune at being able to kneel before you and give you gifts.”
The wise men overcame a long journey, a strange meeting with King Herod, and probably some doubts over following a star, to get to Jesus. But as I thought through those things I realized something really profound (for me):
The greatest opposition to my love for Jesus is not out in the world but right inside my own heart.
“Dear Jesus, won’t you please fight that opposition for me? Ungrip my fingers from these little gods. You are So worthy.”
And lastly, the words of Elizabeth Prentiss came to mind:
“Once earthly joy I craved
sought peace and rest
Now Thee alone I seek
Give what is best
This all my prayer shall be,
More love O Christ, to Thee
More love to Thee.”