Sweeter Than Fiction
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Books were my escape from reality. However, it never occurred to me that the steamy romance novels I loved so much could strongly influence my relationship with God. Some people frown upon such content while others find it amusing. I simply considered myself a “hopeful” romantic. The problem came when I would read a love story and long to have my own. I wanted to feel wanted.
One March evening, I curled up with a novel about a Scottish highlander in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. I was happily content until I came across the first sensual scene. This time, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably because I had grieved the Holy Spirit deeply. He offered a greater romance than I could ever experience inside the fictional pages of a world that did not exist. I also realized that I could no longer enjoy those kinds of novels despite the many years of turning to them for comfort. Now what? I had about 100 of these mass-market paperbacks sitting on my shelf, and I knew they could not stay. The Lord’s conviction was prompting me to move forward in faith.
After parting with the books I had known for so long, I relished the peace that overflowed from my uncluttered heart. Jesus could now roam free. Because I was always craving adventure, I had grown discontent with the bounty of joy that surrounded me. God had provided me with a beautifully furnished apartment, a car that could take me anywhere, and enough clothes to wear a different outfit each new day. He blessed me with loved ones in whom I could easily confide. He supplied me with regular income from a job where I could glorify Him. What more could I want?
Throughout the Psalms, King David praises God for who He is and what He does for us. “The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. … He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. … Sing out your thanks to the Lord; sing praises to our God with a harp. He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures. … The Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalm 146:8; 147:3-11).
God enables us to create stories for enjoyment, but they were never meant to take His place in our hearts. He wants to be our everything. You might be surprised that the very thing you are holding on to is keeping you from loving God more. Cling to Him rather than the things of this world. Because His love will always be more satisfying.
Let’s pray: Jesus, You are worthy of our undivided attention. Right now, we surrender any false comforts so that we can worship You alone. Thank You for the blessings that bring us true joy. Help us to keep You first in our lives. Take Your place on the throne within our hearts because that is where You truly belong. In Your lovely name, amen.
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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