If we were sitting face to face and I asked, “What do you think God considers idols?” My guess is that you would say things like cars, money, work, and hobbies.
You would be correct, what about affirmation, worry, significance, perfection, or children? Each one of these can take their place above God.
When I become anxious, I am putting the situation above God. In a sense, I’m telling Him “You can’t deal with this situation; if I worry enough the result will turn out better”.
I believe that many people have facebook accounts to gain as many friends as possible in order to feel popular. They check hundreds of times a day to see how many “likes” they get on a picture or comment.
How do I know? I am one, and it’s not just facebook.
Two years ago, God impressed on my heart to write a blog. Without my knowing, it too, turned into an idol
One day I checked the stats of my blog and saw there were only 1,034 hits in two years.
Depressed I called a friend.
“I guess I need to chuck it all in. Good bloggers and writers have thousands of hits monthly, not a thousand in two years.” I stated, “I know the numbers shouldn’t matter, but I guess people don’t like it, and I’m not being an encouragement to anyone except the same people over and over again.”
She responded, “Why does it matter so much to you that people like it or not?”
“Because, it’s the a way I know I’m doing what God wants of me.”
“Because when people like it, I know I’m loved by God.”
“Christine,” she paused, “Go deeper. Why do you have to have people’s approval more than God’s approval?”
I couldn’t answer right away. “Well, because when people affirm, to me it’s God’s way of affirming me.”
“I’ll have to think and pray about it.”
I pictured her grinning on the other end of phone line.
That Sunday we started a new series in our Sunday school god’s at War by Kyle Idleman. Coincidence?
Kyle’s definition of an idol:
“Anything or anyone I live for other than God is an idol.”*
So the deeper was revealed. Subconsciously, I was saying, “God you aren’t good enough or big enough to meet these desires or needs.”
These aren’t the only things in my life that I was placing above God. My middle daughter, anxiety, and worry were all placed ahead of God. These are about situations out of my control and were taking the place of God. I trusted myself to control situations, when trust needed to be placed in the more capable hands of God.
The next morning during my devotional time, the realization of the idols in my life overwhelmed like a tidal wave crashing on shore and the tears flowed. Now that I knew the deeper issue, I desired change. I had to:
“…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served…” Joshua 24:15 (NIV1984)
It’s a moment by moment, situation by situation choice. I’m not going to be perfect; eventually, I will worry again. The journey to change will be long and hard.
What about you? Here are seven questions Kyle asked in his video:
1. What disappoints you? Ex: not having spouses/bosses respect.
2. What do you sacrifice money and time to?
3. What worries you? Ex: children, finances.
4. Where do you go when you need comfort? God or man?
5. What makes you angry? Ex: when someone embarrasses you.
6. What are your dreams?*
The final question he presented this way:
“God is a jealous God and will put Himself in direct competition with that idol and say to you ’_______ (insert your name) you have a choice between me or _______ (insert your idol), who do you choose?’”*
I can’t tell you how many times the last question has popped into my head during a day. I never realized how automatic it has been to go straight to the idols of affirmation or worry.
What is getting in the way of your relationship with God? Like a husband who loves his wife so much he doesn’t want another man to come between them, so God loves us so much and wants to be our one and only.
Who do you choose?