I have been posting an online Bible study since the middle of January and while it has been very rewarding I've neglected to blog. But, I wanted to share part of yesterday's study post with you here. We have been studying the book Redeemed by Angela Thomas-Pharr. You can join the group at anytime and read from beginning to end. It's Redeemed Bible Study Group on Facebook.
"Day 29 - So There is Order" - Pages 135 - 139
I was literally searching for a video about everyday idols for today and the one from yesterday popped up. It was a God send. I went back and forth in my head about whether or not to post it or just move on and I could not shake it. I had to share it before we tackled idols.
I think the video clearly hit on parts of Day 28 & Day 29, don't you think? You know, the most super spiritual person, the one that you are modeling your life after, the one that you think is so much farther along than you are, may still be reluctant to change in certain areas of their life. God is chiseling away at each one of us day by day to make us His masterpiece. Wow.
Remember from Day 1 we looked at becoming redeemed, living redeemed, and one day being fully redeemed in heaven. The living redeemed part is what we are focusing on this week. That 2nd phase. Once you become saved there is a shift in focus in your life. You have accepted Jesus Christ and you now are committed to worshiping God only. Simple, right? I mean, you love Him and are devoted to Him so there's nothing to it. If only it were that easy. Things quickly become a struggle for your attention. Our lives get out of order and before long we find ourselves worshiping other idols.
You say, I don't worship any idols or images. I don't know what you are talking about. I'm a Christian and I worship only one God. Ok. Ok. Calm down. Let's look at the list on page 136 and see if this helps explain what is considered an idol:
Anything more important to you than God.
Anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God.
Anything you seek to give you what only God can give.
Whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, "If I have that, then I'll feel my life has meaning, then I'll know I have value, then I'll feel significant and secure."
Anything [that] becomes more fundamental than God to your happiness, meaning in life, and identity.
Ouch! Was that convicting or what?
No? Read the examples of Deeper and Surface Idols below this list. Now, try to tell me there is not one thing in these examples that you do not struggle with taking your attention. Food? Shopping? Emotional Comfort? Acceptance?
These things that we let into our lives and let take control can become idols. We can crave them instead of God. We can look for them to fulfill us instead of God. We can seek and search for our identity through these things instead of God. Disclosure: I am not judging you! I struggle with some of these things too! Everyone does, but it does not excuse it or make it acceptable to God. However, it is acceptable to man (or woman) isn't it? There's that sting again.
Here's the thing. God wants our whole heart. Being able to admit where are weaknesses are will allow us to address our struggles and grow in spiritual maturity. Page 139 "We cannot change what we will not acknowledge. We must see our own sin, or we will not grow."
Let me give you an example. I like food. Ok. I love food. I love to cook. I love to taste good food. I love to serve others and see them enjoying what I've made for them. I like to think that I'm an ok cook. But, I have to realize and acknowledge that we should eat to live, not live to eat. If I let food take over my life to a point that it was all I thought about and all I wanted to do was eat then I would be worshipping it. Do you understand? I'm not bowing down to the Paula Deen chocolate pound cake and literally worshipping it but if I can't live without it, I've got issues.
Let's look at sports. (Big one and yes I'm going there so don't stop reading.) Do you know what fanatic means? Many people say about themselves or are called by their friends as sports fanatics. Fanatic means a person filled with excessive and single-minded energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective. Two words stick out to me "excessive" and "single-minded". James 1:8 tells us that "a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." So if you are a sports fanatic and you are excessive and single-minded on that sport you can't share your zeal or passion with things of God.
Certainly you can enjoy food. You can enjoy sports but you have to set a limit so that you are not consumed by it. Because when it consumes you it controls you. And, when it controls you, it becomes your idol because you are worshipping it. Then, there's no room for God. Think about it.
Let us pray. Reveal to us O Lord today where we have become consumed with the created and we have pushed away You, our Creator. Oh God, convict our hearts of these sins so we can come before you, acknowledging where we have failed and surrender them to you. Align us with Your will and Your plans O God. Help us find our identity in You and not through the things of this world. We will be careful to glorify Your name when we are praised by others. For it is through Your strength and Your power that we are able to do what we do and not on our own. Thank you Lord for your mercy. In Jesus name, Amen.
Rebecca Debter is the Ministries Coordinator at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.
Women's Bible Study beginning January 17, 2017 with an online Calling All Women group using the book Redeemed by Angela Thomas-Pharr.