The Peacemaker Monthly
Part Two – Get the Log Out of Your Eye
by Cara McLauchlan
“Our hearts are the wellsprings of our thoughts, desires, words, and actions. Therefore, it is also the source of our conflicts.”
– The Peacemaker, page 102
The New Year always brings mixed feelings. I love the fresh calendar days spread before me with all the promise, opportunity, and spaces to create something new. The possibilities and wonder of what God will do new this year in my life are at the forefront. Dreams feel possible and within my grasp.
Yes, this might be the year of the thinner, more organized, finally got-it-together me. Or not. Usually, a couple weeks into the year, things resume their normal status and disappointment or reality sets in. Change is hard and putting so many “shoulds” on myself feels legalistic. I imagine all these new goals will somehow magically make me happier and healthier, with deeper relationships and a profound, confident feeling in my heart.
These lofty ideas are all great on their own; but if they are just things to check off and they are really more about my own unmet desires, then they lack authenticity. Truly, they are worshipping the pictures in the magazines, the media images of romantic marriage, or what the world says are things of a peaceful heart. Whose ideal am I idolizing? God’s or the world’s?
In The Peacemaker, chapter five deals with the idols we create in our lives as a link to our unmet desires. If you and I were having coffee together and you asked me to tell you what this part was about, I would say, “Imagine God holding up a mirror to your life and asking you a series of soul searching questions.” This chapter hits hard.
Author Ken Sande asks a series of what he calls “x-ray questions” which dive into deep places in your heart. Questions such as: Where do I put my trust? What do I fear? What do I want to preserve or avoid at all costs? One core set of questions stuck with me:
“What am I preoccupied with? What is the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing on my mind at night?” (Page 105.)
These particular questions hung around in my heart. While journaling about the answers, it was revealed to me how much energy I was wasting over worry, fear, and what ifs. Instead of using that time to seek the Lord, I was setting up those worries to be bigger, badder, and more boogeyman-ish than they needed to be. I was letting my fears be the center of my focus, not God.
Ken Sande goes on to examine the roots of how we unknowingly make idols in our heart. He looks at what we desire, demand, judge, and punish of those in our midst through our thoughts and actions. What idols was I already making in my life based on my own unmet needs, fears, and lack of contentment in my circumstances?
The only way to remove the idol-style desires of our heart is by loving God more. The more I looked at my own desires the more I realized that the things shaping my hopes and dreams were my own inadequate feelings.
Instead, God should become the One whom we seek for our desires and contentment. Our hopes and dreams begin with delighting in the Lord. My favorite quote in this chapter is about delighting in God. I love that word, “delight.”
“Learn to find your greatest joy in thinking about God, meditating on his works, talking to others about him, praising him, and giving him thanks” (page 113).
Delight is such a beautiful word. Sande goes on to say on page 114, “As you love, praise, give thanks, and delight yourself in God, he will fulfill your desires with the best gift: more of himself. And as you learn to delight more and more in him, you will feel less need to find happiness, fulfillment, and security in the things of this world.”
Through his words and lovely examples in Scripture, Sande helps to cast a vision for that sacred place of connection and fulfillment in our Lord. This biblical idea of delight is one that can grow roots in my soul and add a rich deepness to my heart which far surpasses any kind of shallow-minded resolution.
I think the Lord cannot wait for us to delight in Him. I come with an expectation of a coffee-cup-size delight and He wants us to have oceans of delight. My intention this year is to discover more delight this year in worship and truth in Him. I pray 2015 brings the same delight for your family, too. I pray that our year will be filled with the love of Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Read Along in The Peacemaker
Read Part 2 – Chapter 5 (page 100-116)
- What are you preoccupied with?
- What lurks in your thoughts at night and first thing in the morning?
- Are there areas in your life that you are putting in a higher place than God?
- Where do you see delight in your midst?
- How are you delighting in the Lord?
- What will be your intentions for 2015?
- How will you grow deeper with the Lord this year?