Have you ever let something or someone have more importance in your life that it or they should have? Sometimes we allow something, whether good or bad, to have too much of our attention and it affects the way we think. Sometimes we let that thing or those things take precedence over the Lord and our relationship with Him. When we do that, what we’re doing is called idolatry. It’s really easy in our modern society to scoff at the idea of idols. We don’t have golden calves that we worship. We discount the idea that we live in servitude to false gods. In our skepticism, we don’t see that we do indeed have false gods, idols in our lives. In our intellectual thinking, we are arrogant enough to think that we would never fall for that, that we’d never believe in or put our trust in such things. Yet we do. Idolatry is about the condition of our hearts. It’s about us putting ANYTHING, even something good, before our God. It’s about us trusting ANYTHING more than we trust Him.
Earlier this year, the ladies’ group at our church went through Priscilla Shirer’s Gideon study and through that study and reading through Crazy Love by Francis Chan as well as reading through the book of Matthew, God began working on my heart about wanting Him more than anything else. He showed me some not so pleasant things about myself, some things that weren’t becoming to Him or glorifying to Him. Some areas of my life that I had been living in service to something other than Him, areas where I turned to those things instead of Him. As God’s been working on me over the past year, I’ve become increasingly aware of just how selfish I am and have been. How much I want what I want. How much I look to other things to satisfy places only Jesus can truly fill.
Even good things can be come idols. Idols don’t have to be evil for them to be idols. We can let good things that God has given as gifts become more important than Him, the One Who gave them to us. This includes people—friends, spouses, children. Through the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, the question was posed, “Do I want Jesus or the things He offers?” Sometimes we can even let church, doing good, religion, or what we want from God become more important to us than God Himself. Our desire for the self importance those things can make us feel becomes greater than our desire for God alone. From books to food to social media to approval of man among other things, He revealed just how important I’d let those things become, how I’d tried to find fulfillment and comfort in those things instead of Him. He unveiled to me just how consumed I was by those things.
An idol is anything we serve. Are you living your life in service to anything other than God? Self—I want what I want. Intellect. Fear, doubt, worry. Religion. Doing good. Family. Social Media. Approval of man. Pleasing others before pleasing God. Are you dabbling in ideas or concepts, ways of this world that go against the ways of God? We can’t live a successful Christian life with one foot in the ways of the world. It won’t work because eventually that will begin to take over more and more of us. Those habits will become more prevalent. Those things will become the things we turn to instead of the Lord. There’s no room for love of worldly things in a life lived in full surrender to God. There’s no room in the kind of intimate love relationship that God wants us to have with Him for ANYTHING other than God to be the most important thing to us.
“Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do no come from the Father but are from the world [itself].” -1 John 2:15-16, AMPC
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).” -Matthew 6:24, AMPC
Why is it really that big of a deal if we let some things of this world be the things we go to for fulfillment or for comfort? Why does God care that we let something become more important to us than Him? “Loving anything more than God will break your fellowship with Him.” (Experiencing God) The Lord created us for Himself. He created us for fellowship with Him. We were not put on this earth for ourselves. We were not put here to live lives for ourselves or to look to the things of this world for satisfaction or fulfillment. We were created by Him, through Him, in Him, FOR Him. We were made to worship God and to be in fellowship with Him. And through that fellowship, God wants to reveal Himself and His ways to us and the work He desires to do through us to reach a lost and dying world.
“For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him. And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).” -Colossians 1:16-17, AMPC
“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” -Ephesians 2:10, AMPC
I’m so thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit who walks this walk with us, prompting us, showing us when something needs to change and giving us the want to and the strength to do it. Without Him we would not even know the depth of how much we need Jesus. We would be blind to the idols in our lives and we would continue to live in slavery to those things. But out of His love for us, out of His desire for fellowship with us, the Holy Spirit reveals those things to us and convicts us of them in a way that draws us to Him. He then enables us to give those things up to Him. And He makes it all worth it as He fills us up with Himself in replacement for the things we’ve turned to that never had the ability to truly satisfy us. He is our Creator. He is the only One who can meet our every need and satisfy every place in us in a way that doesn’t leave us feeling as though something is missing.
“[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” -Philippians 2:13, AMPC.
Ask God to show you if there’s anything in your life that is more important to you than Him. Is there anything that you love more than Him? Anything you turn to for comfort or satisfaction instead of Him? Ask Him if there’s anything keeping you from answering God’s call, that’s keep you from being used for the good works He has prepared to do through you? Let Him reveal what’s keeping you from full fellowship with Him, confess and release those things to Him, and then let Him fill you up with Himself and His love. Let Him complete you and make you whole.
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” -Joshua 24:14, AMPC