Consider an apple. While we have chosen to consume apples for nourishment and better health, it is designed to be fruitful. The core of the apple, which many of us toss away, holds the buildings blocks of life for this fruit. Their seeds contain the potential to grow into a tree, making it easy to see why the core of this fruit is so important to its genetic makeup. Without seeds, an apple would still be able to provide nourishment to others, but it would be unable to complete the full purpose for which it was designed.
The word “core” was derived from the old French word “coeur,” in the late 1300’s. Coeur for those of us who are not fluent in French means “core of fruit” and interestingly, “heart.” The core is then considered to be the central or most important part of something.
Considering this definition, what would be at our core? As Christians, we have welcomed God into our hearts and have acknowledged that He is at the center of who we are. Acts 17:28 says, “For ‘in him we live and move and have our being,” and it couldn’t be more accurate. When we make God the most important part of us, His goodness impacts our thoughts, our feelings, our words… our entire lives. Once we remove God from our innermost being, we can begin to lose focus of who we are, not only affecting how we perceive and define ourselves but how we treat others as well.
It’s easy to say that God will always be at our core, but why then is it also so easy to begin to replace Him with the things of this world? Porn, self-indulgence, drugs, and alcohol are a few common replacements in today’s society, but what about other things that can separate us from God because we choose to place more stock in them instead? Romantic relationships, sex, friendships, confidence (which can quickly turn to arrogance), work, health- this list can go on and on. This second list, however, is all aspects of life that God wants us to enjoy and grow in! But when we choose to find our identity and happiness in these areas instead of in God, that is when they become destructive.
Truthfully, there has been a few times that I’ve replaced God with romantic relationships and work. I even started to replace God with my writing a few years back, and it is still a bit of a struggle. Instead of finding my identity in Him, I found my value in how much I was loved, how much I was appreciated, and my writing ability. When these things began to waver, my perception of who I was began to waiver as well, as I had placed my identity on them instead of in God. Lost friendships would have me questioning my value as a human being, a tough day at work would have me believe that I wasn’t good enough. A weak mark on a paper or criticism of my writing would introduce bitterness into a talent that I know is God-given.
The truth of the matter is, while we may try to replace God with the things of this world, we can’t do so and expect a fruitful outcome. The Israelites replaced God time and time again with false idols, even when His presence was so near to them. Every time they turned to an idol or chose to disobey God blatantly, they replaced Him with their own thoughts and beliefs. It’s hard to comprehend that a people who saw the incredible power and love of God in their exodus from Egypt, turned to false idols. But… how many times have we seen God do incredible things in our own lives, and have put more stock in emotions, physical desires, and other people, instead of in Him?
It’s a daily struggle to keep God at our centre, but it is a choice that we have to make time and time again. He is our Heavenly Father; the one who called us into being just as He did the stars, the depths of the sea, the rocks and plants, (and apples) of this earth. God gave us His heart, and He chose us. We will give Him our coeur? 😉