- The Challenge: Identifying idols in our lives.
- Idols don’t exist anymore right??? They are a thing of the past aren’t they? In our modern culture, there is no way an idol could hold any power, is there? It’s not like we are bowing down to golden sculptures…
- Leviticus 19:4 “Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.” That’s usually what I think of and envision when I think of idols; Old Testament stories of evil cultures mindlessly worshiping lifeless hunks of metal.
- That is not the case! Idols are as real now as they have always been. As the enemy continues to try and deceive us, they are often more subtle and “under the radar.” They sneak into our lives and set up shop in our hearts. They are still lifeless though; in fact, they probably take life from you. They probably require a lot of your resources (time, money, energy, heart) and demand your attention. They might even consume you as you manage them and hold onto them.
- Identifying idols in your life can be hard. Sometimes they are obvious. Sometimes it requires a lot of prayer, time listening to God, self-refection and self-monitoring. When I first visited this topic a while back, I couldn’t relate, I couldn’t see idols in my life at first.
- An idol is anything in your heart that takes the place of where Jesus should be; something you desire more than God. An idol distracts you from your loving relationship with your Father and will cause you to shift your priorities and throw off your balance. An idol will demand things of you to feed it, to keep it going, to keep its place right in front of you. Psalm 106:36 “They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them.”
- Idols are often connected to lies we believe from the enemy. Idols will convince us we “need” them, and if unchecked, will motivate us to continue keeping them in an unhealthy place in our lives. Jonah 2:8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.” When we try and get life from something lifeless, we are in turn telling God he is not enough!
- I think the best I have ever heard idols described was by Matt Mead, leader of Men’s Fraternity from my church. He described an idol as, “taking a good thing and making it an ultimate thing.” That really helped me frame this whole identifying idols concept!!!
- Idols can come and go. It can be one thing one day, and a different thing the next. An idol can be almost anything if we let it. In our culture there is no shortage of possible idols, some blatantly obvious and some more subtle. And again, an idol can start off as a good intentioned thing in our lives. A few I can think of that might plague us could be: sex, power, money, drugs, all sorts of relationships (wife, family, friend), sports, work, achievement, entertainment, and the list goes on… Idols are often things we go to in order to find life, significance, importance and value (all things we arguably should be receiving from our relationship with our Heavenly Father).
- As men, we need sex!!! We need money. We need healthy relationships with God, our wives, our family, and our friends. These are all good things when kept in balance and prioritized with Jesus at the center.
- This is not to say it’s bad to have things we like and find Joy in!!! God provides everything we need! He knows our hearts; he knows we need hobbies, work, fun, excitement, adventure, danger, and JOY!!! He wants us to have those things! We just need to make sure we are not pursuing those above our relationship with Him!!!
- AGAIN IT’S A HEART ISSUE!!! What are we letting guide and lead our hearts on a moment by moment basis? Is it Jesus? Or something else?
- The Answer: Reflect and identify the idols in your life!!! Call them out by name!!! Surrender them to God and go to your three links of support!!!
- Link #1 God:
- Pray and surrender. NOT easy things to do. It means we have to humble ourselves before God and admit we are wrong, repent, and work! Once you’ve uncovered an idol, you can’t be ignorant anymore!!! Don’t go back, battle to grow closer to your Father!!!! Ezekiel 14:6 “Therefore say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!”
- Be willing to listen to what He tells you!
- God loves us deeply and desires a deep love relationship with us. He is love! He is hope! He is forgiveness!!! Ezekiel 36:25 “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your ”
- He wants to be the center of our hearts, our thoughts, and our actions. We have to be in constant intentional pursuit of HIM to keep idols at bay!
- THERE IS FREEDOM IN JESUS!!!
- When we can truly surrender and step into God’s forgiveness and grace, the joy is indescribable!!! Seek His will!!!
- Link #2 Wife:
- Share with her the triumphs and victories of your heart!
- Share with her the struggles you are going through. Let her know the idols you are battling.
- Allow her to be a cheerleader to support and encourage you! She loves you. The two of you made vows before God. Let her battle with you. She is your ally!!!
- Link #3 Brothers:
- Remember, we are all broken; no one is immune to the enemy and His schemes.
- Share the battle with your brothers! Relate!
- We have a common enemy who studies us. He is limited in his attack, he is not that strong, or smart, or creative. Often you will find similarities between your struggles and the struggles of a brother. There is power in truth; there is power in opening up and NOT BEING ALONE!!!
- You are not alone!!! You are only alone if you choose to be.
- Questions to ponder:
- Can you identify any idols in your life?
- How much are you managing your idols? What is the cost to you and those around you for maintain those idols?
- How easy/hard is it going to be to surrender and grow? What do you need to do?
- Are you known? Who else around you can be your support?
So guys, I’m not saying you have to give up everything that is “fun” and exciting for you. All I’m saying is its worth letting God into every part of who you are and see what He has to say about it. Get His take on things in your life. Be fearless in your pursuit of Jesus!
Guys, this is not easy stuff. This can be deep, heart wrenching stuff. For some familiar with the battle, you know the peace and joy that comes with victory and the continuous pursuit!!! If this is new to you, go to God, truly pour your heart out to Him and surrender!!! Trust Him, He will guide you through!!! God’s love never fails!
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