Chan's commentary on this characteristic is extremely brief, so we'll jump right to his definition:
"A person who is obsessed is characterized by committed, settled, passionate love for God, above and before every other thing and every other being." p. 143
Now, if you're anything like me, you'll read that and feel almost defeated. I've mentioned it here countless times before... feeling "passionate" love for God just seems like a stretch. (And, if I'm REALLY honest... committed love to God is something I struggle with!) Now, don't get me wrong, in the most basic sense of the word "commitment" I am a true believer. That's not what I mean. The only way I know how to describe the struggle I have is to compare it to my relationship with my husband. I am totally, 100% committed to my husband, in every way... not just the obvious ones! I think of him often. I call him at work frequently and send emails of encouragement when I think he could use them. I'm constantly mindful of his opinions when I make a decision... of course, I've been known to ignore his opinions as well, but that's a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ISSUE! The point is that he is always on my mind, in some form or another... I can't really say that about God.
Now, in all fairness, I've taken incredible strides in this area over the past few months... and I'm much harder on myself than I would ever be on anyone else! But, regardless, I still have my moments of ignoring God (sometimes blatantly)... most of us do. I guess the difference for me is the growth I've been experiencing. When I first read this passage, almost a year ago, I focused on the first part: "committed, settled, passionate love for God." I got so hung up on not having those things... not even knowing where to begin looking for them, that I missed the somewhat hidden directive... or at least the clue... in the latter half of the characteristic:
God must be placed above and before every other thing and every other being.
I recently completed a Beth Moore study dealing with the issue of strongholds... and how to get rid of them. What I took away from that study not only helped with the strongholds in my life, but has helped me get closer to God. Whenever I find myself struggling with something (especially when my mind starts going in a negative direction), I stop and give it to Him. It might sound silly, but I promise you that it works. For one, I almost instantly stop obsessing over the stronghold; but, more importantly, I placing it at His feet. I take time to talk to Him. Over the course of the past two months, I have found that instead of picking up the phone to complain about something to someone else, my instinct is to go to Him first... I've started living out this characteristic (intentionally or not!).
For the next 24 hours, if you find yourself going in a negative direction (physically, mentally, spiritually), take pause and give whatever it is to God. See if this is a natural way to draw you into more one-on-one time with Him.