Update – The Young’s – Thailand
The Young’s – Thailand
Thousands of years ago there was this group of people who were refugees. They had slavery and were ruled by a ruthless Pharaoh from Egypt. The only way they escaped such hardships from this Pharaoh was because the God of Abraham, their direct ancestor, intervened with some pretty outrageous plagues. These plagues were in direct contrast with the idols the Egyptians had come to serve and worship. Upon the final plague, the escape plan was underway and these people were led into a desert by a man named Moses.
These people, the Israelites, had survived ten plagues (because of God), had been brought out of slavery (by God), crossed a dry sea bed and rescued from pursuing attackers (by God), drank sweet water made from bitter water (by God), ate bread that rained from the sky in a wilderness (from God), drank water from a rock in the middle of nowhere that Moses hit with a stick (because of God). All the while they grumbled and complained about their situation, they complained to the point of even desiring to return to slavery. They were focused on themselves and not what God the Almighty had done for them. They even set up a golden calf to worship!
God then instituted what we know now as the Ten Commandments. The most interesting thing about this list is the qualifying verse just prior to the commandments being listed. The other unique points are the first two commandments.
Exodus 20:2 says, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Right off the bat God reminds them who He is, and who they were prior to their redemption. He sets the tone for the Ten Commandments with proper authority. The following verses (3-6) really touch on a tone set throughout the remainder of the Old Testament and continues into the New Testament. Idolatry.
Verses 3-6 says, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. [emphasis added]”
Have you ever thought that you make God jealous when you worship something other than Him? I forget that sometimes when I worship my personal time. When my kids bother me when I’m checking Facebook or in the middle of working. These things that I tend to make God jealous with aren’t measurable, they’re not visible acts of bowing down, they’re pretty well hidden because a majority takes place in my thoughts and I can hide them easily. The outworking of my idol worship is anger, resentment and a bad attitude toward my family for interrupting my “me” time. Now that I am aware of one of my idols I am able to pray that God allows me to show grace and love to my kids when my time is taken away from what I was focused on.
Now what about you? What if those idols you worship invoke jealously from God the Almighty? Are they measurable? Are they visible? Are you bowing down to a carved image that represents something? Of course you’re thinking, “Me? I would never physically bow down and worship something like a golden statue, that’s preposterous!” So does that make you better than someone who does? Idolatry is defined as “extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone (other than God).” I fall into that definition when I consider it my time and not God’s time that He has allowed me to have.
There are numerous statements in the New Testament regarding idolatry and the impact it has on our relationship with God (before and after coming to Christ). In 1 Corinthians 10:1-22 Paul the apostle gives an entire discourse warning against idolatry. The key statement in that passage is the end of verse 14. It is three little words, “…flee from idolatry.”
Flee. Run. Escape. Take flight. Bolt. Vamoose. Skedaddle. Split. Scram. Get away from idols. You can only flee from idols if you have something to run to. And that has to be God the Creator. The Almighty. The Alpha & Omega.
The book, Disciple, by Bill Clem says, “the root of idolatry is pride.” Clem then says ”pride is detestable to God precisely because it steal from God’s glory and his preeminence. Pride is rebellion against God’s authority. Pride is self-centeredness rather than God-centeredness. A proud heart sees itself as central and God as the one who must find his place of orbit in the proud heart’s universe.” Do you find yourself in that description? I know I do at times. I am a glory stealer.
I would like to wrap up with another quote from Disciple. Clem is discussing how pleasure is a gateway drug for pride to seep into our lives. “Once my pleasure becomes the value giver, I am free to use them and consume them as commodities. If they fail to deliver self-gratifying experiences, I can replace, abandon, disown, or discredit them. Even if I am exposed to something as value-free as coffee, I am challenged to brand loyalty through other values such as fair trade, ecology, or punch-card discounts. It all boils down to what satisfies or gratifies me most. Do I want help, save, or enjoy? Does one of my desires trump the others, or does the company with the best alchemy of my values win my patronage?”
Is God the Lord of your life, or is He in your list of gods that make you feel good? Do you use God to ease your life? Does God exist to glorify you, or do you exist to glorify God? What are you worshipping other than God? Evaluate yourself, and ask God to reveal the areas in your life you might be blind to. Pride/idolatry is subtle and we may not see it all the time. This won’t be easy to do, and once those areas come to light, it will not be easy to release your grasp on them.
I challenge you this week to pray with humility that God will reveal areas in your life that are stealing time, glory, focus, love, etc. from Him. See what He reveals and how. Record somewhere, work on it and come back to it in a year and see how far God has grown you in that specific area.
*I would love to hear your comments/feedback on what I have written. Were you encouraged or offended? Has this area of pride/idolatry been a recurring stumbling block for you? Do others see this is as a problem area in your life? If so, why or why not?