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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Modern-Day Idolatry - Part 2

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
So, how does a Bible believing, God-revering girl slip into idolatry? Unfortunately, very, very easily. Remember our definition of idolatry? “Whatever gets our firsts…” Whatever is a pretty inclusive word, isn’t it? So, let’s throw out a few things that just may be getting our firsts: our jobs, school, money, fashion (i.e. cars, clothes, shoes, etc), CELL PHONES, houses, TV, games…I’m sure you saw those coming… How about a few more: our children, our marriage, boyfriend/girlfriend, relationships, ministry, church, fitting in, feeling comfortable, feeling needed and wanted, being in charge, worry, a person, a pill, a possibility… the list goes on and on and varies from person to person.  

Now, here’s the hardest part...may I suggest that we take a moment and put things on pause right here. Have any of these things ever so consumed you that the pursuit of them got your “firsts”

  • What is the first thing you think about as you wake up? 
  • What is the last thing on your mind at night?
  • What do you spend your hours doing?
  • What are the motives behind your actions?
  • Where are you headed and why?
  • What’s the point?
Today, I talked to a teacher-friend of mine who discovered, while discussing themes in a current piece of literature with her (high school) students that all of them readily acknowledge they are completely addicted to their cell phones as well as other forms of social media. This led us into a discussion of other “normal” forms of idolatry. It doesn’t take but a quick flip through the television, the mall, or the grocery store checkout to see that our culture idolizes idolatry. Think about that for a minute. We have been, and are continuing to be, desensitized against seeing this as a problem or even as something taboo. We talk about it, we brag on it. We are completely obsessed with it. As we reach for whatever our favorites are, it seems as natural as a baby reaching for their blankie or pacifier.

Have we forgotten God? In many ways, the answer is an emphatic, “yes!”  However, I realize that we all would like to say, “Of course not!”

So, let me ask you…

  • Have we forgotten God in this fast paced life we live? 
  • Is God getting our firsts...our best?
  • Is he the central and most important relationship in our life?
  • Is our faith growing - or is it barely staying afloat in the ocean of a packed life and a demanding world?
I know, I know. It creeps in slowly. What can we do? Are we helpless, hopeless? Without Christ.  In many ways, the answer is “yes.” “Yes,” we are. We have to get focused and stay focused on Christ. He, and our daily relationship with him, must take center stage. This does not mean neglecting important areas of our lives, it means prioritizing and putting God back where he belongs - front and center. The One and Only FIRST of our hearts and souls.

The truth is, if we allow anything to take first place, other than Christ, it is not to our advantage. Meaning, the precedence of anything over Christ means its ultimate destruction and certainly our own. Often we focus on, or obsess, over things that are dearly important to us. We are such passionate creatures. The problem with this is, when we do this, it means we don’t trust God to take care of those things in our lives for us. Trust is the main issue here. Where is our trust? If we are focused on Christ and we are acknowledging his love for us and unstoppable power, we will trust him and we can more easily while we let the other things rest… and when need be, we can let them go altogether.

Idolatry is a heavy subject that can be uncomfortable to think about. However, God is very straightforward about his expectations andthey are different from what our world may say. We are called to be different. We are called to keep God first. It is for our own good. So, what do we do if we see that we are in this situation? Whatever you do, don’t stay there! That is the danger-zone!

We must seek Christ and his guaranteed forgiveness. We must be honest with ourselves, and with him. We need to put Jesus back on the throne of our hearts. Jesus is stronger than any entanglement or disaster we could ever create or imagine. We are never too far gone for his grace and mercy. Christ longs to help you - to set you free. Idolatry is absolute bondage. We are hopelessly bound to whatever is first.

Oh, how I wish I could pull up a chair and sit to talk this over with you. Do not be discouraged! Jesus Christ is stronger than any craving or addiction that you could ever have. I know, because I have been set free, myself!

Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”

What are some steps you can take to de-throne a current idol in your life?

How did you slip into allowing this particular idol take control?

Does this idol need to eradicate from your life permanently? Why or why not?

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