God really spoke to me through it. This topic has been on my heart a lot since I knew this series was coming. Through the Old Testament God continues to speak about idols. In fact it is probably the most discussed topic in the Bible. I am pretty sure Pastor Kelly said it was THE most discussed topic.
I love when PK talks about the Old Testament too. Jesus & His teaching didn't abolish the Old Testament - it put it in a new perspective. He gave it an ending. Gave it new context. I love seeing all facets of God, including the God of the Old Testament. God can't be put in a box. He can't be put in a Jesus box. He can't be put in a box we create. He can't be put into any box that religion tries to put Him in. He's so much bigger than we even imagine. It's okay to not understand Him. We're not ever going to fully understand Him. I love the God of the Old Testament. I don't really get Him or His actions all the time... but I choose to love Him. I choose to trust Him. I ask Him to help me understand Him. I realize that Jesus came for me to connect with Him. I want to continue to get to know Him. The Jesus part of Him... but also the Old Testament part of Him.
I do believe that God is a jealous God. The Old Testament shows this jealousy and His desire for us to worship Him and nothing else. The Old Testament time and time again shows how when we create idols - when we worship anything other than Him there are always consequences in our life. Either direct negative consequences...or just delayed blessings from Him. I do believe that Jesus came to take the blame and shame that my sin creates. To connect me with God. but I also very much believe that when I allow idols into my life, when I sin.... there are consequences. Not eternal consequences - Jesus saved me from that. but consequences because God is a just God. Not that He 'punishes us' but that He refines us.
He wants us to love Him so much. He gave us the free will to choose to do that --- He won't force us to love Him - but He desires us to desire Him. I believe that He even wants us to love Him for our own good as well as His --- because He knows that we will never truly love ourselves or find our value & true joy until we love Him and love Him above all else. We will constantly seek other sources for our value, validation, significance, which will leave us empty in the long term (though most will make us feel good in the short term - which is why we fall for those tricks).
I think that's all my thoughts for right now after the sermon yesterday. Let me try to summarize what else PK said that touched me most:
- idolatry is the cause of every sin we commit
- every sin is based on an idol
- the sin is just the fruit. the idol is the tree the fruit comes out of
- every person worships something!
- the opposite of theism (theim = loving God) is NOT atheism. the opposite of theism is idolatry
- what is your idol? popularity, passion, pleasure, power, your kids, your spouse, your parents, education, the body He created (health, looks), morality (you idolize rules & rituals more than Him), relationships, community, money, perfectionism, validation from others?
- these things in themselves are not inherently bad --- they become bad & distorted when we put them above God!!!
- to help you figure out what your idols are ask yourself some questions:
1. what makes you frustrated? what do you complain about? This is a great indicator of what your idol is. what you give most of your attention to.
2. where do you put your time & money?
3. what do you worry about? What do you fear?
4. where do you go when you are hurt? Where is the first place you go when you're crushed? What's the first thing you do when you've had a bad day?
5. what makes you angry?
6. what are your dreams & passions? What do you lust over?
7. what brings you the most joy?
8. whose applause do you desire most?
- worshipping our children can be a symptom that we are trying to find significance in our roles. fame/popularity/validation from others instead of caring what God thinks.
- worshipping your parents can be a symptom that your idol is validation / approval from people rather than God
- if your idol is morality & your religious rituals... you can be extremely inflexible & unloving to others. you can become judgemental, arrogant, self-righteous with a critical, condemning spirit. many of our parents have passed on this idol of morality/rules on to us.
- we have to DAILY surrender & submit our lives to God. Realizing He is above and bigger than anything we can create. We "take up our cross" by daily telling Him we will turn from the things we lust after. recognizing He is above all else. That everything in our lives is His and we are just stewards of it. That He is most important and these things are secondary. He wants us to enjoy these things, these gifts from Him. He gives us these things, so we can enjoy Him, in these gifts. not so we can enjoy the gifts above all else. If we put them above Him and make idols out of the things instead of the source... our hearts become distorted and we will not enjoy these things with a pure thankful heart like He wants us to.
- The christian life isn't a one time choice to allow Jesus into your heart. The christian walk involves daily decisions to worship Him and not what we see, sense, feel, touch.
Whatever you put first in your life has the most power. When anything other than God is first --- it leaves room for the devil.
What's the first step to getting rid of our idols? Recognizing them. Then acquiring a thankful, appreciative heart for what we've been given. We SHOULD love and be so thankful and take so much joy in these things -- our children, our families, our financial blessings, our health, our ability to learn... but we must always remember the source. Remember who has given us these things, whose things they are... and how undesserving we are of them. It's all about thankfulness. Acknowledging God and putting the focus on Him that all these good things have come from Him. Recognizing, respecting, revering who He is. Destroying idols daily & surrendering your life to Him. Seeking out what is important to Him. Caring what He cares about. Not allowing the noise and stimulation we are bombarded with to become our focus so that everything becomes distorted. Taking time away from all of it to be with Him throughout our day.
It is a daily thing. It is always small daily steps that make huge differences. Small daily steps to get to Him and allowing Him to make us into the person He created us to be.