Playing the Harlot

then those of you who escape will remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols. And they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations.

Ezekiel 6:9

Intense, right? Can you believe that God, the Creator of the Universe, the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent One who owns and commands everything you see before you, says the following words: “I have been broken over their whoring heart.”

This week’s songMake by Johnnyswim, is one of my favorites. The second verse gets me every time.

When wandering was my heart’s recourse,
You brought me home from distant shores,
And on this altar void of pride,
You made a harlot girl Your bride

Make | Johnnyswim

It’s that word, harlot. Every time I hear this song (and specifically this verse), it stirs my heart. That’s my story. The Lord brought me home from distant shores. The great God of the Universe humbled Himself to the point of taking me as His treasured possession. He wasn’t repulsed by me, He wasn’t disgusted with me, He wasn’t embarrassed of me. He took this stinking piece of rotting flesh and loved on it like it was the most valuable thing in the world. And now I’m alive…like really alive. 

I still can’t wrap my mind around it sometimes…
But it’s the truth. And it’s beautiful.

As I listened to Make this week, that verse from Ezekiel kept going through my head. Whoring hearts and whoring eyes that depart from the Lord. Whoring hearts and whoring eyes that have broken our God. Not in the sense that He is unable to continue “being God,” but in the sense that He is so deeply hurt by our idolatry.

I know a thing or two about idolatry. No, I’m not a Hindu convert or anything…I never sacrificed to golden statues or worshiped mythological creatures. But I have had my fair share of idol worship. It’s easy for me to become consumed with something because of my personality. When I like something, I don’t just “like” it. I become consumed by it. I’m borderline hippy when it comes to the liberal arts side of things. Writing, music, poetry, art – those are things that move me. Those are “heart” things, “feeling” things. Things that stir up all kinds of emotions and thoughts. I have a logical, analytical, more “proper” side too…but unfortunately, that side of my brain didn’t develop until I was well into college.

So when I started out as a naive little fishy at the GREATEST university in the world (WHOOP! WHERE MY AGS AT?!) my right brain was pretty much all the brain I had. Left brain hadn’t made its big debut yet. And so I pursued anything and everything that “moved” me. Looking back, I’d have to say that my biggest idol, the one thing I worshipped most of all was people.

Yes. You read that right: people. Weird, I know. Let me explain: I was the BIGGEST people-pleaser in the world. You think I’m exaggerating, but I promise you, I’m not. You could ask any of the people that knew me back then and they would tell you the same thing. It was like I was the punch line of this running joke that everyone else understood but me…and so I kept on people-pleasing. I could be guilted into anything, persuaded, peer pressured, swayed to whatever it was that my friends wanted.

You want me to come celebrate your birthday with you in the wee hours of the morning even though I have an exam at 8 AM? Sure! Okay! Let’s do it! You want me to celebrate you being done with your hell week even though my hell week is just beginning? Sounds like fun! You want to go grab lunch even though I have two classes back-to-back that I have already skipped every day this month? Sure, as long as I get to pick the food – but only if you’re totally okay with that too. I realize now that all of this sounds absurd. But I hadn’t realized it then. The only thing that mattered to me during this time of my life were my friends. I never wanted to let them down. I never wanted to disappoint them or hurt them. I always picked people over anything and everything. Now, I’m not saying that’s entirely a bad thing. It’s good to care about people and to love on them. But at some point, you have to ask yourself: at what price am I willing to give myself away?

I messed up in school (obviously), I upset my parents, but mostly, I hurt my God. Every time I chose a person over Him, His heart broke. Every time I chose to do what my friends wanted, instead of what He wanted, His heart broke. Every time I chose living life the way I felt entitled to live, His heart broke. Why? Because in the end, none of this is about me or my friends or people. All of this is about Him.

This life we have been gifted is FROM God, FOR God, and ABOUT God. We are insignificant. But in our insignificance we have been given significance. Did you catch that? In our INsignificance, we have been given significance – not in the eyes of the world, no. But in the eyes of the Lord, we are worth something – more than something, we are worth everything to Him.

The Father gave up His everything for us. And how do we repay Him? By playing the whore and running after all the things of this world – whether they be people or inanimate, materialist things, we have chosen STUFF over God. STUFF over Everything. Because that’s what He is. He is EVERYTHING. When something is EVERYTHING to us, how do we treat it? With reverence, with gentleness, with love, with loyalty, with boldness, with ALL of us. When we find things in this world that move us – art, music, friends, spouses, nature – we give our hearts over to it. Music that inspires us, art that moves us, friends that are always there for us, a husband/wife that loves us. We willingly give our hearts over to these things. And it’s not bad to love these things, to enjoy them for all that they are to us. They are blessings from above. God GIVES us these things so that we may enjoy them, He desires for us to enjoy them. But at what cost? That’s the question we must ask. We willingly give our hearts over to the things of this world – no questions asked. But when it comes to God, suddenly we want to run a background check on Him, question His motives, hole Him up in an interrogation room and find out exactly what He intends to do with us.

My whoring heart and whoring eyes sought after anything and everything that sparked my interest. I played the harlot for quite some time. But then this pure and holy and loving Man of Sorrows bought me. He purchased me. With His own blood. He paid for me with His life. This spotless Man who had done no evil, who had touched no wicked thing, humbled Himself to embrace me. The harlot. The whore. And He loves on me with an everlasting love that only grows brighter and stronger with each new day. And every time I revert back to my old ways, my old lifestyle, every time I decide to play the whore because for whatever reason, I begin to miss the “good ol’ days” – every single time, He comes back to find me. He doesn’t beat me down and accuse me, He doesn’t say “I told you so,” He doesn’t call me a failure or a lost cause. Rather, He gathers me into His embrace, all over again. He doesn’t shy away from my filth. He doesn’t touch me with hesitant hands. No, He embraces me wholly, completely. Filth and failures and all.

His grace and mercy are not cause to engage in sin, to indulge in the life that we desire to live. But His grace and mercy are boundless and free for the times we do fall.

Humans are created for worship. It’s encoded in our DNA. We gravitate towards whatever it is that makes us feel whole, complete. But the thing is, we’re so stubborn and hardhearted that we don’t see that missing puzzle piece standing right in front of us. We look to people and things to fulfill us, to give us worth and meaning. Our careers won’t fulfill us. Our spouses won’t complete us. Our children won’t give us purpose. Our “Save the Planet” campaigns and philanthropic work won’t give us meaning. Those things are all beautiful and important, but they mean absolutely nothing without the ONE who GIVES life, who IS Life. Those things are the “cherry on top,” the added bonuses. What good is a cherry without the big bowl of ice cream underneath it? What’s a bonus, a blessing if you don’t have the One who has the power to give those blessings?

People and things will always be nice, but they will never complete us. They will never be so important that God doesn’t matter. So wake up. The God of this Universe is the One who created you, redeemed you, sustained you, provided for you. He’s the One who looks past your whoring heart and whoring eyes and embraces you, filth and failures and all.

Join me. Right here, right now. Let’s stop playing the harlot. Monogamy is a beautiful thing, despite what the world may tell us. It’s not boring, it’s not lame. It’s beautiful. But only those who decide to make the decision to stay true to One Love get to experience it for themselves. Our One Love is the Greatest Love. We’ve broken His heart one too many times, let’s try to live in a way that does nothing but make His heart joyful in us.

I will plant her for myself in the land;
    I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’
I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’;
    and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”

Hosea 2:23


A REALLY Important Note from the Author: 
1. Scroll back up to the top, click on the verse from Ezekiel, and prepare to have your mind blown. Courtesy of fellow Come Awake Team member, Esther Thomas 🙂
2. You MUST read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers if you haven’t yet. And if you’ve already read it once, read it again.

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