When He asks you to lay things down for Him

Today was another day. 

Another day to love Jesus, another day to recieve His mercies, another day to chose to be obedient, another day to lay down something in my life and pick up my cross.

Today it was Harry.
I have adored the Harry Potter movies since they first came out, I was 11 when they began to hit the screen and I was pretty hooked from the beginning. 

I loved the story, I loved the actors, I loved the costume design…everything! 
When I became a Christian at the age of 19, I had a lot of BIG stuff which needed unravelling. 

Namely; a cocaine addiction, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy relationships with men ect. But God has been incredibly faithful in bringing me through each challenge, each moment of laying down another part of myself for His glory, His grace has most defiantly been sufficient for me. 
And then there was Harry!
I have found increasingly over the last 2-3 years that I have begun to feel a “niggle” in my spirit whenever I chose to watch or read the Harry Potter stories. 

I would search myself every time and would come away feeling that I have got enough reasons as to why it was okay for me to continue watching them, but still that feeling was there. 
I reassured myself that; lots of other Christians watch them, its not like they are taking Jesus away from me, yeah its got good and bad in it but so does Narnia and that’s written by a Christian…the list was endless but I just couldn’t get my spirit to settle down. 
I’d stick the movie on or pick up the book and just keep watching or reading until that feeling had gone, only to be faced with it again the next time. 
Now, am I saying that Harry is demonic and that the series is directly from the devil?…honestly, I don’t think so but I’m not sure. 

But what I am saying is that these stories were nestled in a deep place in my heart. 

A place where I only want God’s Word, His Bible, to ever be nestled. 
I recall saying to a Christian friend last year, “I wish I could get as excited about reading my Bible as I do about reading Harry Potter books, you know, you just pick it up and instant feel like your home, I’ve just never had that with my Bible.” 
I remember thinking at the time just how wrong that statement sounded but because my friend agreed with me, I felt that perhaps it wasn’t that bad after all. 
Jesus spoke to me after that conversation and it was at that moment that I made a commitment to Him that I would read my Bible from cover to cover.

 It was no longer acceptable to me to not be in love with God’s Word, so I pursued it with all I had.
I have since then been on an incredible journey into diving into the Word and have fallen in love with it above all other things (except God Himself-obviously). 
But, last week I decided I would watch the HP movies again, and I was back to having this nagging feeling in my spirit. I did my usual squashing it down and then got on with life.
For my birthday I received a beautifully illustrated copy of the first HP book, I had taken some photos to put on my Facebook page to thank the person who bought it for me. 

The following morning I received a message from a very close friend of mine, who has journeyed life with me since I became a Christian and who loves me deeply from the bottom of their heart. 

They expressed their concerns to me, in love. And gently asked me if me reading these books was really feeding my soul? especially as I have spent the last year working so hard, cultivating and planting good seed in my heart. 
I knew immediately that they had touched on a nerve. 

My mind instantly went into overtime on the defensive and it was racing with 1,000 reasons that I had ready to justify myself. 

I’m wise, I know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad.

I sent them a message back thanking them for their concern, but I was doing just fine thank you!
But, I could not shake this feeling, it was literally like something was alive in my chest trying to get out and I felt sick. 

I knew a long time ago that this may be something I would need to lay down for Him but I didn’t want to do it so I just ignored it.

After all, how harmful are these stories? They are so precious to me, part of my childhood!

I decided to take it to Jesus and said; 

Ok Lord, you have my life, every part of me. I promised that I would lay anything down for you, no matter the cost. This hurts to imagine not being able to go into that world and those stories anymore but if You want it gone then it has to go!”.
I was reminded of the story of Abraham and Isaac. We know that God never intended on Abraham killing his son but his son had taken the place in Abraham’s heart that only God was supposed to be, God needed to test to see if he was truly willing to lay something so precious to him down in order to prove his love for the Lord. (Genesis 22). 

I knew God was showing me that the place where these stories were currently occupying in my heart, He wants for Himself. 
I still sat and tried to reason with God, asking Him if they are really that bad. 

Do I really have to give them up, and forever??
He spoke to me again through Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death”.

These movies and stories seem harmless, they seem even good. 

There has been many reviews on how they have helped kids to deal with anxiety, depression ect, because they have claimed that they have given them a hope and something positive to focus on but in reality, what hope can be found in the stories of a book which is dead?

There is no truth or life in their pages, the only book that is filled with real hope, real life and anything truly worth investing our time into is God’s Word itself. 

Anything which has a place in our heart where God should be, we must be ready and willing to lay down. 

Whatever that looks like, no matter how painful. 

None of that stuff will be going into eternity with us, but our relationship with Him will. 
I have sacrificed so many things over the past 9 months as my hunger for Him has increased. 

I no longer watch daytime TV, I very rarely read novels, even crafting which is a huge part of who I am has had to take a sideline to make room for more of Jesus in my life. 

I have learnt what it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness and nothing is more worthy of my time and head space then Jesus.
God has been so incredibly faithful in answering my prayers and cries to go deeper into Him and His Word this year. 

I am more in love with Him then I ever have been, I am walking in more integrity then every before. 

I am becoming fearless in my pursuit to see the Gospel reaching to the ends of the earth, in crying out to see more of His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven and I WILL NOT allow anything to stand in my way of that. 

So, I have made the decision this morning that it all has to go!!

 I am just not willing to sacrifice going deeper into Him by holding my spirit back when it is screaming out for me to let go. 

This spirit which God has put inside me is in communion with the very Spirit of God, He lives inside of me and if I want to learn to hear His voice more clearly I must listen and be willing to follow His lead, not just squash those feelings of conviction down and carry on. 

This may seem to some reading this like a very trivial thing, to me this is a huge thing to lay down. And has not been a decision made without a lot of tears…a lot!
We all have things we love, things which hold meaning and memories. To me these stories do just that, they remind me of my childhood and are so deep rooted in who I was.

For you, this may be like God asking you to give up your favourite food, your favourite tipple, music, art, sport or hobby. 

HP is something I have always gone to as a place of comfort. 

If I’m unwell in bed, chances are I will be watching the movies. 

If I am in a stressful season, chances are I will be reading the books. 

I do not hate Harry Potter, nor will I judge anyone who reads them or watches them but I do hate the hold that they have had on me without me even realising. 
I am so thankful that I worship a God who so kindly leads and disciplines me, He longs for me to be made perfect, to live a life that is Holy, to live my life worthy of the calling I have received.
And so, its goodbye from me to Harry Potter. 

Yes I will miss it, yes this is horrible, but nothing NOTHING takes the place of my King!

Have a blessed day and thanks for stopping by.

One girl and her Jesus x

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