November 15, 2013
What’s Your Ultimate?
I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. (Psalm 57:2, ESV)
Friend to Friend
My heart plays ping-pong. It shifts focus from one affection to another faster than you can say, “Squirrel!” I have never been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD – or any other condition with scary capitol letters – but I’ve surely been known to major on some minors in my day. Practically every day. I worry about things that don’t really matter… at least not eternally.
The other day started out great. In the wee hours of early, I poured some hot coffee, grabbed my prayer journal and my Bible, and headed to the couch to spend time with God. My heart spilled with worship as I fixed my affections on Him. I was prepared to start my day. Fueled and focused.
A while later, my son came downstairs ready for school. We exchanged tender morning greetings and hugs as he grabbed a bowl for cereal. But when he sat down to eat, I realized that he was wearing two different socks. As he ate his breakfast, I tried to lovingly influence him toward a matching pair… to no avail. Hmmph! When he left for the bus stop, I was horrified, so I lamented. Where have I gone wrong with this child? Why does his 13-year old brain not think it is inappropriate to wear un-matching socks? What will people think? Surely the teachers will have a juicy gossip session in the lunchroom about how awful and inadequate I am as a mother because my “it’s-all-good” child went to school with two different socks!
AS IF it matters.
My heart can turn on a dime. One moment it is fixed on the Lord and the next it prioritizes drama. Does God care if my son’s socks match? I’m thinking No. Is it okay to want my children to wear matching socks? Yes. Surely I can speak into a practical matter, but the way I respond matters more – especially if things don’t go my way. Let it go, already.
I really do need to let it go.
I need to let a lot of things go. I need to let go of reactions, emotions, activities or thoughts that don’t honor God. He wants to be our top priority! That’s why we were created. To love him above all things. He wants the details, activities and decisions of our lives to be prioritized around Him - not just our Sunday mornings and major decisions… but our every morning and our every decision. We must look to Him as our desire – our ultimate – our obsession. Then the rest of life falls into place.
God is El Elyon. This Hebrew term for God can be translated two ways: the Most High God or God Most High. Either way, they mean the same thing: He is to be preeminent in our lives. He is supreme. There is nothing above Him or beyond Him.
In her book Obsessed, author and speaker Hayley DiMarco said it this way, “If you claim two obsessions, then you are not truly obsessed with both. No one is obsessed part time.” [i]
God is jealous for us.
He wants us to be obsessed with Him and Him alone.
God becomes El Elyon to us when our affections for Him and His ways are prioritized above all else. The Lord wants us to be focused worshipers. To have hearts that look to Him and His strength; seeking His face always. (Psalm 105:4) One of my favorite things about the Psalms is that they are honest. Refreshingly so. Like the psalmist, we need to allow God to filter our responses.
I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
(Psalm 57:2, ESV)
I’m so encouraged by what Scripture says here: when I cry out to God and make Him my ultimate, He fulfills His purpose for me. Yes, please! That’s what I want. His purpose – not mine. More of Him – less of me. You see, we don't have to try to find our happiness and purpose in other things. When we prioritize God and put Him as God Most High in our lives, He fulfills us in a way that none of these other things can!
A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” He also listed off these telling “Rules for Self Discovery”:
1. What we want most;
2. What we think about most;
3. How we use our money;
4. What we do with our leisure time;
5. The company we enjoy;
6. Who and what we admire;
7. What we laugh at.
Tozer summed it up beautifully: all of life needs to be filtered through our constant thoughts and yielding to our Most High God.
How can this be practical in our lives? What does El Elyon mean to your worries? Do you obsess about them? If you compare your fears to El Elyon, the Pinnacle of existence, do they still look so big? What does El Elyon mean to your busy life, your weight loss goals or your desire to please others? Which master leads? Are you more concerned about pleasing man or pleasing God?
This is where the rubber meets the roads.
Where your ping meet your pong.
You must choose what, or who, will be Most High in your life.
The psalmist chose what is best as he sang to El Elyon, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:2)
Will you allow Him to be your El Elyon?
Dear Lord, El Elyon, I really want to get this one! Help me to place You above all and before all. Show me what that looks like in the midst of my drama. Help me to yield to You when I want to take control. Be my Everything.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
- Spend a moment in prayer about the things that distract you from prioritizing God above all and before all.
- Let’s take the conversation deeper: swing by my blogor my Facebook pageand tell me how today’s devotion relates to your life?
More from the Girlfriends
I love this name of God so much that I co-wrote a song about it called El Elyon with my friend, Dave Clark. Click here to hear the song!
Today’s GiG devotion is adapted from Knowing God by Name by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, & Mary Southerland by permission of Multnomah, division of Random House, Inc. This is the perfect book for individual study or for gathering a group of friends in what we call GiG Groups. With impactful devotions, study questions, journal pages, and free on-line video intros, this book is a resource you’ll refer to time-and-time again.
[i]Obsessed, Breaking Free From the Things That Consume You. ©2012 by Hungry Planet(Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
Originally published Friday, 15 November 2013.