Tag Archives: idols

The Idol of Opinions 

“You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Have you ever been worried about what people think of you? Done something simply because you wanted somebody else to think well of you? How about doing something you know you shouldn’t have just to please another person?

Desiring others to think well of us is not a bad thing, but when we look to them to gauge our value, we’ve crossed the line.

Peter stopped eating with the gentiles when James and certain influential Jews were around. Afraid of what they would think, he acted like a racist. Paul sternly rebuked him.  (See Galatians 2:11-14)

Personally, I can relate with Peter. I’ve struggled with being concerned about what people think about me. Rather than loving selflessly, as Jesus commanded, I sometimes look for something in return from others. It’s like I “need” their approval.  This stems from a misplaced understanding of where my value comes from. I’m loved by the Creator of the universe with a love which surpasses knowledge. God’s love gives me my complete value.

But sometimes I lose sight of God’s love for me. Caught up in the swirl of life, I look to other relationships to give me what only He can. This is sin.  Using other’s to validate me is giving too much worth to their opinion. In essence I’m worshiping their opinion as an idol, making me an idolater.

Idolatry

The word Idol literally means “an image for worship.” A stark reality is that when I do anything to enhance another person’s opinion of me, I’m bowing down in worship to that person in my heart.

In quite spicy language, Paul puts our trying to please others this way:  “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” ‭Galatians: ‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Paul’s words add gravity to this sin of idolatry. But, praise be to God, Jesus Christ died to set us free from all sin. God wants us free.  There’s tremendous power in the cross of Christ to bring death to every sin.

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13 ESV

Though I’ve known about my struggles with pleasing others for a long time, dealing with it as sin and bringing it to the cross of Christ for mortification has brought tremendous freedom and lightness to my heart. I’m becoming more and more secure in Father God’s love for me. This frees me to love other’s as Christ has loved me, without expecting or needing anything back in return.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you so much for revealing this sin to me. When my flesh wants to walk in the old ways of gaining value from the opinion of others, please show me quickly that I might bring this idolatry to the cross and walk in your Spirit. “Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

I know you want to show me more and more so that I can walk in the full freedom You’ve designed for me.  You are impressing upon me that my completeness is in Christ Jesus alone. I love the lightness of heart that the confession of sin brings. Please continue Your work in me. I love You and thank You for loving me so much.

 

Fools Gold

Hope Remains, latest novel by the author

Fools Gold – a brassy yellow mineral, especially pyrite, that can be mistaken for gold

“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only  by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” Blaise Pascal French Mathematician 1623-1662

Wasn’t it the Rolling Stones who could get no satisfaction after trying and trying and trying?

King Solomon tried all manner of worldly delights to satisfy his emptiness.[1] Denying himself nothing he saw around him, he concluded that it was all “vanity and striving after the wind.”  Ecclesiastes 2:11b (NASB)

Trying everything, but failing to find joy, Solomon was left hopeless and despondent. “I hated life, for the work which has been done under the sun was grievous to me, because everything is futility and striving after wind.”  Ecclesiastes 2:17 (NASB)

He would later conclude, that God has set eternity in the hearts of men.[2] Solomon had the means to attempt to fill his deep need for satisfaction and joy with all the world has  to offer. None of it worked. At the end of his search, he hated life because he recognized the utter futility of trying to fill the eternal hole in his hearts with anything around him.

God designed our hearts for joy. We were intended to be fulfilled by God  Himself, the fullness of all joy.[3]

Until we realize that true joy and fulfillment comes from God himself, our lives will be endless pursuits of fleeting, temporal, pleasure which only lead to idols and addictions.

If temporal pursuits could fulfill us, wouldn’t those in society who have gained all the success, money and fame possible be the happiest among us? Are they?

Challenging Questions to Ponder: Is there something you’re looking forward to, or hoping for, which you believe will finally bring you fulfillment and happiness? Moving out on you own? Completing college? Getting married? Buying your own house? Getting out of debt? Getting promoted at work? Having children? Starting your own business? Publishing a book? Having good health? Having grandchildren? Retiring? Winning the lottery?

These can be good things, but will they provide lasting fulfillment?

What is the overall goal of your life? Happiness or a growing relationship with the Creator of the Universe?  Desiring happiness is not a bad thing, but true joy is a by product of our relationship with God through Jesus the Christ. It’s how He made us.

Prayer:  Lord, help us not to fall into Solomon’s trap. The glitter of riches, fame, success and pleasure can keep us in a boundless pursuit of fool’s gold. If we could carry this quest to the ends that Solomon did, we too would find it a vain pursuit, a chasing after the wind. Lord, may we seek you, the pearl of great value, worthy of our all.[4] 

 What is the chief end of man?  Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.   (From The Westminster Shorter Catechism,completed in 1647 by the Westminster Assembly)

[1] Ecclesiastes 2:1-10

[2] Ecclesiastes 3:11

[3] Psalm 16:11b

[4] Matthew 13:46