Tuesday, March 26, 2013


 Almost a month ago, a mentor of mine challenged me to check my heart & make sure that it is free from idolatry. Since then, God has brought the topic to mind several different times (through books, sermons, conversations etc). Here is what I have learned:

An idol is something in your life that you are unwilling to let go, something that comes in between you & God. It can be self, movies, music, relationships, books, sin, activities, hobbies etc. Anything that distracts you from the Lord or turns your heart away from Him. 

"God spoke all these words, saying, 'I am the Lord your God...
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
- Exodus 20:1-5

What is making it harder for you to focus on Christ? If any pastime, activity, habit, relationship or friendship in your life tends to pull you away from Christ, that's a sign that it doesn't belong in your life. 

Idolatry happens when we look to other things (besides Christ) to give our life purpose, identity, meaning, peace, joy, contentment, excitement, refreshment etc. God grieves over our distracted, wandering, lukewarm, divided hearts! We often look for excuses to keep living self- ruled, pleasure- seeking, sin- loving lives. Submit yourself fully & completely to His transforming work. Lay your selfish pursuits & worldly addictions upon the altar at His feet!

"Whoever loves his life, loses it & whoever hates his life
in this world will keep it for eternal life."
- John 12:25 

When we invite Christ into our life, we don't "make room" for Him amidst our selfishness, sin & worldly pursuits. Rather, by the power of His Grace, we are transformed & made completely new!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 

"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, & make no
provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires."
- Romans 13:14

Every moment of every day we have a choice to make. We can either listen to our selfish whims & wants or we can listen to the Spirit of God. There is a constant battle between our flesh & the Spirit of God. We are commanded by God to put to death our fleshly desires & yield to the Spirit's commands. Will you listen to His Voice? Or will you listen to your own selfish desires? Daily life is filled with hundreds of choices to either give in to selfish whims or yield to Christ's Spirit. 

What in your life is keeping you from being consumed by Him alone? Do you have habits of laziness? Selfishness? Are you addicted to worldly entertainment? Is your thirst for comfort & material possessions? Are you longing for popularity & attention? Do you feel the need to control your future? Are you fascinated with the culture? Have you allowed other gods to woo your heart? Have you forsaken your covenant with the King of all kings? Nothing in this world is worth jeopardizing your relationship with Christ. Is Jesus Christ merely a part of your life? Or is He your entire life?

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world,
the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world—the desires
of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the
Father but is from the world.
  And the world is passing away along with its
desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever..."
- 1 John 2:15-17
"You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the
world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of
the world makes himself an enemy of God."
- James 4:4

Do you live as if your time & decisions were your own? Or does everything you have belong to Him? Do you allow the distractions & allurements of this world to turn your head, to occupy your thoughts, or to dictate your choices? Or is Christ your sole pursuit? What selfish patterns do you have that need to be remade by Christ's Spirit?

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love;
according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity & 
cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions &
my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned
& done what is evil in Your sight,
so that You may be justified in your words & blameless in your judgment...
Purge me with hyssop & I shall be clean;
 wash me & I shall be whiter than snow."
- Psalm 51:1-7
I would encourage you to spend some focused time in prayer & waiting on the Lord, allowing Him to gently reveal those areas of your life that need His transforming touch. All His Spirit to open your eyes to any parts of your daily existence in which you typically yield to your selfish whims & desires. This requires much prayer, repentance & a change of direction- a focused, lifestyle change. It may take a few days, weeks or months for those old habits to fully die. But if you allow Him to retrain & enable you to "deny yourself, pick up your cross & follow Him," you will soon understand what Paul meant when he said, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me" (Galatians 2:20)

" Search me, O God & know my heart! Try me & know my thoughts!
See if there be any wicked way in me
lead me in the way everlasting!"
- Psalm 139:23-24


Some questions (food for thought) :

* What can't you live without?
* Are you totally & completely surrendered unto Him?
* What other things might you be looking towards to give your life identity, purpose & meaning?
* Are you willing to give up all the pleasures & enticements of the world for His sake? 
* What have you not yet surrendered unto the Father?
* Do you love what the Father loves & hate what the Father hates?
* What are you still holding onto???
 *  Why do you do what you do?
* Who are you working for?
* What motivates you?
* What is your work ethic?
* Are you working for the Lord?
* Do you care more about what the Lord thinks of you, than what mere man does?
* Are you working diligently for the Lord?
* When you receive praise for work well done, who gets the glory?
* Do you do the Lord's work in humility, with no thought of self?
* What are your ulterior motives when serving?
Who are you?
* Where do you find your identity?
* Who do you align/associate yourself with?
* Where do you find enjoyment/pleasure?
* What are your priorities?
* Where do you invest your time?
* Where do you invest your money?
* Why do you "do what you do"?
* Are you trying to save face amongst other Christians?
* Are you placing things above Him (idols)?
* Is Jesus most glorious to you?
*Am you more devoted to ________________ than to Christ?
*What things are trying to replace your “first love”? (job, wealth, relationships etc)
* Is Jesus first in your life right now?
* How can your love (obedience) for God be more genuine (consistent etc)?
* How can your love for others be more ____________ (genuine etc)?

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