The Awakening: Psalm 24:3-4
The moment I recognized I was the manager (not the Owner), everything changed. Recognizing I was a steward, entrusted by God with all that I am & all that I have transformed my perspective. It also transformed my heart, because I finally recognized that stewardship was a heart matter! The awakening happened in Psalm 24:3-4.
“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.”
A tidal wave of conviction swept over me as I read these words. If I were to stand in God’s holy place, set apart as His chosen one, my hands needed to be cleansed and my heart purified each and every day through the Holy Spirit.
Clean hands hold everything from money to possessions to family to friends to church to time to a job loosely, not tightly. But this goes deeper that what we hold and see. The matter of our hands and our grip is a matter of our hearts.
My hands are clean when my heart is aligned with God’s desires, holding everything loosely, surrendered in humility as His manager.
My hands are unclean when my heart is aligned with selfish ambitions, holding everything tightly, filled with pride believing the lie I am in charge and the owner.
Initially, I thought stewardship had everything to do with how I managed all the things that were in my hands. But then it hit me.
Stewardship has less to do with the outward, and more to do with the inward. God was less concerned with my behaviors and more concerned with my heart.
Throughout Scripture, we see God cares deeply about the heart:
- We know that the heart due to our sinful nature is deceitful (Jeremiah 17: 9-10). *This is why we need to surrender to Jesus and let Him invade our hearts!
- God looks upon the heart, not our outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Peter 3:3-4).
- Even David cries out in the Psalms, pleading with God to search his heart (Psalm 139:23) & create a clean heart within him (Psalm 51:10).
- Above all else, we are called to guard our hearts, for everything we do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23). Our lives are a reflection of our hearts (Proverbs 27:19).
I knew my heart needed to be purified, I just didn’t know how much until I faced my idols.
IDOLS AND FALSE GODS
If I’m brutally honest, my initial reaction reading Psalm 24:3-4 was rooted in pride. I thought, “At least I don’t worship golden calves like the Israelites.”
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but pride was blinding me from defining an idol properly!
Trusting in an idol or false god has nothing to do with metal figurines. Trusting in an idol or false god happens when we ascribe more worth and value to something than it is actually worth.
I used to think an “idol” was when I placed something over Jesus in my life, but then I realized an idol is anything I give more value to than it is worth. When an idol is redefined, here’s what I discovered: There are TONS of visible and invisible idols in my life that need to be shattered!
My challenge to you is this. Create an inventory of where are you spending your time and your money. Examine where your gifts/talents are being used. Reflect on how much you are giving without expecting to receive anything in return. See where you place your deepest affections, devotions, and adoration.
Idols can be anything: People – places – wealth – possessions – ambitions – happiness – social media – comforts – conveniences – food – travel – beauty/image – lots more.
When we give more value to these things than they are worth, they not only become “all consuming,” but they prevent us from ascribing worth and value to the One who deserves ALL our affection, devotion, and attention. Don’t place your hope and trust in these things, or they’ll become idols and false gods.
Over the last couple years I’ve learned 2 important things about idols.
#1. Idols distract us. And we are far less dangerous to the Enemy when we are distracted.
Between American culture, the digital age, our fleshly desires, and the Enemy’s schemes, there is an endless supply of potential idols all around us. We must wage a spiritual war against these idols, fighting against distractions that prevent us from fulfilling our destiny in the Kingdom of God.
#2. Even good things can become idols and false gods.
I could faithfully give to my church, pay off student debt, live on a budget, serve in ministry, spend time reading God’s Word and share my faith, and none of that would matter to God if my heart was impure and my hands were unclean. Heart matters before behavior.
I’m also not saying give everything up and live a miserable life. God wants us to enjoy all the things that He entrusts to us. For example, if you spend time fishing and you do it all to the glory of God, fabulous! Keep fishing and investing your time and money and efforts into becoming a better fisherman. Just don’t let your love of fishing (or anything else for that matter) become greater than your love for Him. Be willing to hold it loosely, be willing to let it go if God asks you to.
When I wake up each morning, I must check my heart & hands.
I tighten my grip when I believe the lie that I’m the owner in charge. I say “MINE!” But then God’s grace washes over me. There is a sweet freedom accompanied by a sweet whisper, “Lauren- you were never meant to hold this so tightly to begin with.”
I loosen my grip when I believe the Truth that I’m His steward, entrusted. From that posture I worship Him saying, “YOURS, LORD!”
My prayer for God’s people (and myself) is that we would hold everything with a loose grip & surrendered heart. Then we will worship our God with ALL of our heart, mind, soul, & strength. We will become an army of unstoppable faithful stewards building the Kingdom on Earth as it is in heaven.