At the Mission I work at, we often talk about “idols” in relation to them hampering our spiritual walk and growth. The Old Testament talks a lot about idolatry, but the New Testament doesn’t speak much specifically about idolatry. There is a reason for this however. As I learned yesterday, the New Testament version of “idols” or “idolatry” is the idea or concept of “lust”. While the OT speaks of idols, the NT speaks of lusts…they are, in fact, to be taken the same way.
I have been thinking a lot lately about idols/lusts. As I contemplate this, I am reminded that idolatry is anything that turns my focus or heart away from God and His Glory. Of course, this can be any number of things, but what I have found out about myself is that I have ONE really BIG idol/lust in my life. The rest is periphery to this big one. The rest of my sin, actually, flows right from this ONE idol. You might be saying: yeah right!?!? How can you have only one idol or lust??
We are quick to pin the devil, the world, demons, etc. on our failures and sinning. While there is certainly some merit and reason to think this, it likely only makes up a fraction of our sin. For instance, if Satan is bound to be one place at one time, I highly doubt he is waiting for me to wake up each morning and then follows me to work and sits in my office to tempt me. Ha! I am not that important! I am thinking he would rather spend his time with, perhaps….politicians…hehe..What I really think is that most of my sin can be contributed to good ole me…my flesh…myself…So that got me to thinking about where my idols/lusts lay. And I boiled it down to one simple, yet big, conclusion. My big idol simply put is: SELF. Every other idol or lust simply flows out of my insatiable desire to please, protect, and advance myself. I am so selfish. I am selfish with my time. my money. my gifts. my energy. my lifestyle. I could go on and on. I want total, unilateral control of my life. I may say I believe and want God’s control and will for my life..that is wonderful lip service. But one need not look to deep into my life and lifestyle to find that I am the one who really wants to drive my life and lifestyle. Then, this idol of self gives birth to many different idols. But inevitably I can always trace back a sinful action, thought, desire, etc. to the fact that I care more about myself than any other thing, including God.
Certainly getting married has helped this. Having a baby has helped. Being involved in missions has helped. But none of these things in and of themselves have been able to break me of the care and self-love I have.
In times which the Spirit has truly led me, as opposed to my flesh, I have found freedom, mercy, love, grace, and redemption from my idol of self. I try to tap into my Spirit to guide and lead my days and actions, but also understand that the battle will be lifelong and often times labor in vain.
Oh how I long to slay you, self. I long to love you, Lord, above all else. I long to love others as myself. I long to seek first your Kingdom. I long to walk humbly, to love mercy, to fear the Lord. God, save me from this perishable tent, save me, I ask of you, from mySELF.