As I wrap up my study No Other Gods, I can't help but think of how many hungry Christians there are. How many Christians seek God and yet bow to idols. I am one of them. I have said it before. I put my hope and trust in material things and people time and time again, and come up empty inside.
So let's look at Ken Sande's definition again, and really think of some things that may be idols in our lives and we don't even realize it. The more I look the more I find, and I pray that God continues to open my eyes to the things that take up the space meant for Him in my heart.
"Most of us think of an idol as a statue of wood, stone, or metal worshiped by pagan people...In biblical terms, it is something other than God that we set our heart on (Luke 12:29; 1 Cor. 10:19), that motivates us (1 Cor. 4:5), that masters and rules us (Ps. 119:133; Eph. 5:5), or that we trust, fear, or serve (Isa. 42:17; Matt 6:24; Luke 12:4-5). An idol can also be referred to as a "false god" or "functional god".
I think the point I want to make before I share my own idols is this; the things I turn into idols are usually good things. Things that are not sinful but are even blessings from God. They only become idols when they replace God in my heart and mind. When I rely on them in place of God.
For example, when it comes to the security of this country I trust in our military. When in reality our military could be wiped out in a second, and if they were where would that leave me? I would guess in a state of panic and fear. Is God any less in control without the military's help? Exactly. This is a seemingly small thing, but in reality, it shapes my faith.
Another example: Because of the way we have handled our finances we can not afford to eat "raw or organic". I would love to do this, but even if we had the money John would feel like it's wasted if we spend it on more expensive food. Well, one of the things I have been buying for years is whole wheat bread. I know what you're thinking...what's wrong with whole wheat bread. Well, nothing. It's good, as is all natural yogurt, and the other things I buy. BUT I know we need to pay off our debt and if saving $50-$100 per month is how we get there (as well as other cutbacks) then maybe I have to stop putting my trust in food that spoils and starts putting it in the God who gives life. If I eat white bread can God keep me healthy?
I know it seems crazy to think that I put my trust and hope in wheat bread, but I did. I believed that if I ate wheat bread it would make me happier because I wouldn't gain weight like I would from the "straight to sugar in my bloodstream white bread".
Idols are nothing more than distractions from the TRUTH. That God can and will meet ALL of our needs if we just rely on Him and make room in our heart for Him alone.
If you do something good (like eating clean, working out, a craft, anything really) consider this. Could you go without doing it for an entire month and trust in the Lord to provide you the satisfaction you think comes from the gift? If you spend money doing something good, how much would you be able to donate to orphans or clean water in third world countries if you fasted from them for just a month?
God blesses Americans with so many good things, I think we just have to be careful to remember that it's the giver who fills our hearts with joy, not the gifts.
This is my struggle, to keep everything in an eternal perspective. Are you hungry and dissatisfied with the things you thought would make you happy?
I would love to hear your thoughts!