A strange question for a blog, right? What do you have or what do you do that continually eases God out of your life?
Could what we love cause us spiritual harm?
In the time before Christ, people didn’t hide their idols. In fact, the prophet Isaiah mockingly compared idols to the real God:
“To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move” (Isa. 40:18-20).
What might our idols look like today? We can turn anything, no matter how trivial, into an idol. Even good things - things that we don't think can turn our hearts away from God - can become idols!
When God gave Moses the Commandments, He said:
"Do not worship ANY other gods besides me. Do not make idols of ANY kind, whether in the shape of birds or animals or fish. You must never worship or bow down to them, for I, the LORD your God, am a JEALOUS God who will not share your affection with any other god!" (Exodus 20:3-5 NLT)
So, are you making God jealous? We Christians have warped idea about idols, so let’s define idols again. An idol is any person, object, or activity you give a higher priority in your life than your relationship with God. An idol can be your home, your job, a vehicle, your career, your drive for success, or a pet.
I recently read an article that identified marriage as an idol. What! How so? While marriage is an institution that beautifully points us to Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32), it was never meant to replace God. If we worship marriage by giving all of our time and service to it, we push time with God aside. If our marriage takes priority over God, it, too, can become an idol.
What about our children? Most parents love their children, but when we begin to place our identity and worth in our children, God's gift to us (children) becomes an idol. When we seek to find our joy, satisfaction or identity in our children, we elevate them to idols. We must resist making children the center of our identities; only Jesus can occupy that place perfectly.
Surprisingly, even church is a masked idol! If you feel like your local body couldn’t exist, function, or survive without you. If you feel like you must do everything, say yes to everything, attend every function, and organize all the details, you may be doing something other than be a faithful servant. You may be using the church as a means to personal honor instead of giving God the glory. Even a good thing, like church, can become an idol if we don't control our temptation to grab honor for ourselves.
Remember, the heart of idolatry is forgetting to make God our priority and putting anything before God. We must be diligent, examine our hearts, and guard against idolatry.
Listen to voice of Isaiah: Isaiah 40:21-31 The Message (MSG)21-24 Have you not been paying attention?
Have you not been listening?
Haven’t you heard these stories all your life?
Don’t you understand the foundation of all things?
God sits high above the round ball of earth.
The people look like mere ants.
He stretches out the skies like a canvas--
yes, like a tent canvas to live under.
He ignores what all the princes say and do.
The rulers of the earth count for nothing.
Princes and rulers don’t amount to much.
Like seeds barely rooted, just sprouted,
They shrivel when God blows on them.
Like flecks of chaff, they’re gone with the wind.
25-26 “So—who is like me?
Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy.
Look at the night skies:
Who do you think made all this?
Who marches this army of stars out each night,
counts them off, calls each by name
—so magnificent! so powerful!--
and never overlooks a single one?
Do you get the sense that Isaiah is telling us it's not about us but ALL about God? Who can compare to him? No one!
Don't be misled! Yes, God provides ALL of the things I mentioned in this post. He wants us to be happy. Just don't put anything or anyone before/above God! Stop making God jealous!
May the Lord bless you and keep you until we meet next time. Right here!
"To God Be All The GLORY."
Elaine J. Jones