We’ve been talking about idolatry, a discussion brought on by the 5-part class I taught in New Jersey last week.
First I shared with you key quotes from the study. These overlapped most areas of the class: the definition of idolatry (taking a good thing and making it an ultimate thing, giving it priority over God), the problems with it and the holy, unique nature of our God. They explained, in part, why idolatry is such a big deal.
Next we dove into Scripture (see posts here and here). We looked at biblical accounts of idolatry, both visible (the golden calf) and invisible (Rachel and Leah’s struggles). We discussed legalism and the proper relationship between works and faith.
After all this — the conviction of our “personal pharaohs” and private gods — one wonders: what now? How do we fix this? And how do we know if what we treasure really is idolatry or if it’s just something cool that we can use to serve God and others?
That’s what we’re talking about today. We want to remove the idols of our hearts and reinstate God to His rightful position. We want HIM to be our ultimate source of motivation, strength and fulfillment.
What NOT to do:
1. Trust in your own strength.
2. Set up a bunch of rules.
3. Tackle too much at once.
4. Live in apathy or complacency.
5. Choose your plan over God’s.
Luke 11:24–28; 1 Peter 5:6–8
Eliminating (or at least demoting) false gods is a great step, but you cannot leave a vacuum where they once were. Our hearts were created to worship. They will seek something to serve, be it self, approval from others, success, identity, pleasure. In addition, the evil one pursues those who are vulnerable. Clean house, but also replace the idol with the One worthy of your heart’s throne.
Choosing God: Here are a few steps toward restoring God to His rightful place.
1. Confession: Be honest with God. Tell Him how you feel and why. The Psalms are saturated with honesty. Be like that. Don’t tell Him what you think He wants to hear; open up your heart to Him. He already knows what you think, so there’s no point pretending otherwise.
2. Agreement: Choose His truth over your desires. Any action you take makes no difference if your mind and heart aren’t attached to it. Agree with God’s truth, agree that whatever His plan may be for your life, it is better than whatever plan you have for your life.
3. Surrender: Seek and submit to His will. It may be that you’re fine. But it may be that you need to step away from something that has become too important in your life. He may ask you to surrender it entirely. If so, that’s okay. Remember that He sees beyond what we can see and He loves you more than you can imagine. Trust Him.
4. Expect Success: Trust God to do what He says He will do. Expect those good things He promises to those who follow Him.
Notable Conversions: Consider these stories of turning from other gods to the true God.
- Rahab: Joshua 2:8—13
- Ruth: Ruth 1:16—17
- Nineveh: Jonah 3:6—10
- Pentecost: Acts 2:37—47
Your Turn: What is your response to all this? Have you found some idols hidden in the corners of your heart? What tips can you share for keep God as the sole ruler of your life?