Today as I wrap up this three part look at destroying modern day idols I want to really focus in on the idol of self. Oh the idol of self, our favorite place to worship. But here’s the thing. God didn’t create us to glorify us, we’re made to glorify Him. My life should be dedicated to bringing glory to God, not to myself. When you walk devoted to Him, He finds countless ways to show you favor and blessings, so stop worrying about needing to be treated or feel special. Let Him worry about that, and you worry about the stuff that really matters. Jesus is the example, and Jesus was devoted to others and not to Himself.
I’m grieved sometimes by how easy it is for me to slip back into my old selfish ways. It happened to me for a moment at church last Sunday. I wanted to do my own thing, to be left alone, and yet I was approached by someone who wanted to talk. They didn’t just want to talk, it seemed like they needed to talk, and yet I had this moment of wishing they would just go away. Isn’t that terrible? I wished that they would go away, because I was perfectly happy this particular morning being alone. Thankfully, God reminded me real quick of the order of things. I heard Him say “Who do you think you are?” and I realized what I was doing and so I quickly said “I’m your servant and I’m super happy to be available to this lovely brother in Christ that has come over to talk to me.” And I like to imagine He did that parent thing where He slowly nodded with a stern look on His face and said “mmm-hhhmmm.”
Following Jesus shouldn’t be as hard as it is, but we make it hard. We make it hard because we’re clothed in comfort, and the idea of shedding a few layers of our precious comfort seems UNTHINKABLE, especially here in America where comfort is my ABSOLUTE RIGHT. It’s time to strip down to the basics, time to tear down the idols of self and wasted time, the idols of comfort and luxury. Jesus didn’t haul a bunch of treasures, changes of clothes, and entertainment items behind Him as He walked the land and spread love and hope. He had with Him what was needed, and I like to think that even with very little there were still good times along the way. In my heart I believe that He and His disciples laughed often, that there was a deep friendship and brotherhood among them, that at night around the fire they told stories and laughed and enjoyed the company of friends.
If you’re friends with me on Facebook then last week you saw that I talked several times about two days that were stuffed full of friendship, laughter, and fun. Wanna know what I was doing in those two days that led to all those laughs and good times? The will of God. On Thursday, by hearing His voice and doing what He told me, I was led directly into two great meals with two great couples, given an opportunity to strengthen and deepen friendships while carrying out the will of God. Then on Friday, when I had one of the most fun nights I’ve had in years and laughed and smiled so much my face hurt, guess where I was. I was at church. I was tired after work on Friday, I actually fell asleep when I got home from work for a bit. I woke up and decided I was just too wiped to go to Friday night church, and God nudged me and said “head up there, son.” So I did, and walked directly into a night of laughter and love, of friendship and joy.
God has us. He has us. Speak that into your life right now, just speak it out loud. Say “God has me.” You have me, Lord. We kill ourselves in pursuit of luxury and comfort, we sacrifice ourselves on the altar of the paycheck and we bow down before the pillar of material goods. We do it because we think we need to, that this is how we get taken care of. But that’s contrary to the Bible! We’ve built in idol out of ourselves and we worship it because we think that’s the only way we’re going to get praise and get stuff and get taken care of. But the Bible says that God is my provider, and that those who look to Him for provision will find it.
I’m not against having some nice things, I’m not against taking some time to chill and watch a movie, I think having a little time to unwind is a good thing. I’m not trying to demonize every second you spend that isn’t in direct and absolute service of the Lord. Modern day idolatry is in the heart, it’s in the expenditure of time. And if we want to sustain any big move of God, if we want revival to be a lasting thing in our land and not just a three day event at our local church, then we’re going to have to identify the modern day idols in our lives. Identify them, and destroy them all.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, thank you for putting this on my heart. It’s weighed a little heavy on me this week Lord because I feel like we’re way off of where we need to be. As I asked myself “how much time for God is enough” I even realized that the question alone was probably wrong. All the minutes of the day belong to you. The fact that we’re searching for an “enough” point where we can check the box beside “God stuff” and be done with you for the day has to be wrong. That has to be wrong, and yet isn’t that how so many of us have been living? I don’t worship you and study your word to fulfill a daily obligation, God, I do it because that’s my purpose. I do it because as I get to know you I come to understand that you’re worth every minute of the day. So God, I ask you today for clarity. Help me get to a place of balance, help my expenditure of time each day line up with your will. A daily schedule would be nice, God, if you could maybe email it to me, hahaha, but I know you’re probably going to want me to use some of that wisdom you give me to help figure this out. So I also ask for more wisdom, God, because I don’t want to make an idol out of myself, or out of my precious “me” time. You’re the God of time, and so I take all of my precious seconds and minutes and hours and days that I’ve been clutching so tightly in my fists and I lay them on the altar in front of you. I’m giving it over, and I ask that from this day forward you help direct my hours. I’m willing to do anything for you, Jesus, anything. This has been tough to handle, this idea that we’re not putting enough of ourselves into pursuing you, but I thank you for the tough subjects. It’s through things like this that you can really grow us, and so I ask that you would work on each of us individually. Show us our idols, make it impossible for us to miss them, and then give us the wisdom and strength of character to bring them crashing down. Be number one in our lives, Lord, be the first and main thing we live for. If there’s going to be anything else in my life besides you, then I’ll just trust you to provide it for me. No one provides the way you do. I walk on your legs, God, healed by you, I work at your job, God, provided by you, and I drive in your car, God, given by you. You have shown me that I need not want for anything, and so today I tell you that I just want you, Jesus. Show me how to share your love with others, because I want everyone to know what it means to be a child of God. Thank you so much for all that you’ve done for me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Well, we made it to another Friday (almost). The week is about to wrap up, so I wish you guys a safe and relaxing weekend. I love you guys. God loves you, too, and He wants to be your provider. Let Him.