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Tag Archives: Idolatry

A Challenging Question

Today I am asking a simple question:

“Is God the first one you turn to, or your last resort?”

I’ll be honest, many times when a problem has reared it’s ugly head, I’ve tried to solve it myself first, then turned to my husband for help, then turn to someone/something else and finally when none of that works/ makes me feel any better…I’ll turn to God. I read somewhere today that:

“the only reason we fail to pray is because we’ve made an idol out of self… it’s my own inflated sense of self-importance, the elevation of my work, my agenda, that keeps me from prayer… that’s called idol worship… I don’t pray enough because I’m [too busy] practicing idol worship.”

Well, that was a slap in the face. But so true. It breaks God’s heart that so many people (myself included) would essentially turn to idol worship first, making God a last resort instead of taking a few minutes to place Him in the driver’s seat, and to hand Him the keys once again. So think about this question and what it may mean needs to change in your life:

“Is God the first one you turn to, or your last resort?”

30th October 2009

Jonah 2:8

“Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love” (ESV)

“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (NIV)

“Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love” (THE MESSAGE)

Look at Him

Sometimes it’s easier to look to people than it is to look to Jesus. Think about it – if you go to a great church there are most probably good, godly and wise leaders everywhere! And all too often we get a little bit caught up in them. Whether it’s caught up with their excellent teaching and knowledge of the Word or with the minor ‘celebrity’ factor of speaking to the guy who was just on stage (!), our natural tendency is to want to place them on a pedestal. Please don’t get me wrong – it is fantastic to honour our leaders, to learn from them and benefit from the gifts that God has given them, but how high are we actually placing them? Because of the culture our generation has adopted, we naturally want to admire people we see up front and we sometimes subconsciously fling them into a place that they shouldn’t be, a place they shouldn’t want to be either. We need to watch ourselves on this! It is my hope that your church leaders do not preach the gospel for their own personal gain but rather for the advance of God’s kingdom, giving Him the glory. One of the dangers of placing someone apart from God in a higher position is that that person cannot and will not be able to grant our ultimate heart’s desire. That person is not and never will be our Saviour. Placing people on pedestals higher than God will leave us disappointed and unfulfilled, feeling far from God and despondent. Yes, going to church means being part of a community, learning and drawing from its leaders but let’s not lose the bigger picture! The Bible says that we the church must shine as HIS bride – we need to be spreading the gospel  rather than getting distracted by the people leading us to do so. As explained in my last post on idolatry , I want to reiterate that Jesus is the only One with the right to be at the centre of our lives. It’s great to respect and honour our leaders, but we need to keep reminding ourselves of the leader, the ultimate Alpha and Omega who ALONE can rescue and save.

He’s the One

Idols. Idol worship. Idolatry. What do you think of when you read those words? My guess is that most people’s first thoughts would be a golden calf or a hindu shrine or some religious ritual in a foreign country. That’s certainly the first thing I thought of! The reality is however, that while those idols are bad to worship too, we don’t realise how similar they are to the idols worshipped in our own lives! Have you ever considered that idolatry is not just limited to Bible times and various religions around the world? Worshipping idols is real, it’s dangerous and it can happen sometimes without us even realising it. Just because we aren’t worshipping Buddha or offering sacrifices to a wooden elephant with a billion arms and legs doesn’t mean there isn’t anything that we’re placing above God in our lives. Whether it’s smoking, sex, popularity or a boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, Jesus is the only One with the right to be at the centre of our lives. Galatians 5:19-21 says “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” When reading that passage, one tends to skip over ‘idolatry’ and concentrate instead on the seemingly ‘more relevant’ works of the flesh such as sexual immorality and drunkenness, but Tim Keller says that sin stems from idolatry. This makes sense considering that idolatry is “making something seem more important than God” (Tim Keller again, via adrianwarnock.com). Therefore, idol worship is serious business – it’s not something to be ignored or looked over! The issue of idolatry in people’s lives is relevant – it’s the first of the ten commandments in the Bible (Exodus 1: 3-17). Later on in that chapter (Exodus 1:22-23) God says it again – “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.’ “. In that context, God was speaking literally, but it is just as relevant for us today. In Western culture we don’t tend to make gods of silver or gods of gold, but we make gods out of things such as looking good, out of intelligence, money, power, acceptance from other people, sex, drugs, smoking, attention. Some of these things aren’t bad unless we allow them to take top priority, but all of these things can take the place that only God has the right to if we aren’t careful. The point is, our hearts were sinful from the very beginning. We can’t help but sin everyday, and we can’t help but naturally build up other gods for ourselves. This is why we need to ask for a fresh perspective on just how much God has done for us, just how much we need to be honouring Him and we need to be praying fervently for a greater passion to worship and glorify Him. We are in battle, but we can’t win by our own strength. We need someone to fight for us, to fight with us, to equip us and guide us; He’s the One.

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