Give Up the Idols
Idols. That's what has been on my mind and heart lately. God has been putting all kinds of things in my path to point out this issue of idol worship. He's even been whispering inside of me to be careful...to check myself...because I can so very easily find myself bowing to things, worshiping things other than him. In fact, I am almost in tears writing this because it grieves my heart so deeply to realize that I am so fickle sometimes in my devotion to him who is so fiercely devoted to me.
Israel was delivered in a mighty way from the hand of Egypt. God did the miraculous for them...and it took how long for them to fall into the worship of idols? It's shocking how fast they abandoned him for empty worship. My initial reaction to that story is, "how could they be so foolish?" Then, I stop myself, because I realize that I am no different.
I am no different.
The truth is that I am no different than those people so long ago. God does the miraculous in my life all the time. Every time I write, every time I share my story, all of that is God doing the miraculous in me. But, even those miraculous things, those gifts, can become idols...other gods. I have not been able to write for two weeks. Nothing. I finally, yesterday, decided to ask God (imagine that!) what was going on with me. I asked him why I couldn't get anything out...and what was his answer?
"I am your God."
"Of course, you are my God." I replied
"I am your only God..."
My heart did not want to hear that at first because, well, how terrible to think I would worship something other than him. How could I possibly choose to idolize the gift and not the giver? It's true, though. I've done it...I catch myself doing it, often. I am hard headed, sometimes and the Lord knows that about me. So, what did he do to get my attention? Writer's block. I went into panic mode yesterday. "So, what Lord? Are you taking the gift back?"
"What if I did?"
That response from him is what took the veil off of my eyes. What if he did take the gift away? Would I be content? Well, not if that gift has become my idol. If I have allowed the gift to become an idol in my life, then I will not be content without it. "God, help me. Forgive me, forgive me...forgive me." It makes me sick to think this could happen so easily...but it can. So, what's the truth? The truth is that I can have no other God before the one true God. The truth is that he will not share his glory. It's all or nothing. God wants to give, it's in his nature to do so. It's up to us, though, whether or not we let those gifts become idols in our lives. Talents, jobs, family, friendships....all good things that can easily become stone cold, empty idols that we bow down too.
Everything in my life is about the giver and not the gift. And those things can be ripped from my life in a blink. The only way I will find contentment no matter where I'm at in life or what I'm doing is to worship God and God only. He will not change, he will not move, he is the unshakable. He is fiercely loyal to me...and he requires the same from me.
So, I am going on a bit of a hunt, so to speak, for the things in my heart that have set themselves up as idols of worship. I am going to not just bow my knee to my God, I am going to put my face in the dirt and beg him to rip those things out of my life. I am going to seek his face, not his hand. I am going to find contentment in worshiping my God and nothing else. I can just see him, sword in hand, slashing the idols in my heart, destroying the rooms I've created for them.
I urge you friends, to search your heart. None of us are immune to idol worship. When we seek anything, anything at all, above his face...we are turning to idols. He will not share his glory, friends. He is a jealous God. He is jealous for you to love him passionately, with every fiber of your being...the way he loves you. His commandment says, "You will have no other God before me." It's not up for negotiation. We will worship something, and if it's gonna be God, it's gonna be him alone. Forgive us, Lord for our wayward hearts that turn so easily to empty worship. Make us clean, pure before you, so that we can worship you in truth...in spirit and in truth.
"You must not have any other God but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other God..." Exodus 20:3-5