John Frame in his forward for the new book, You Are The Treasure That I Seek: *But there’s a lot of cool stuff out there, Lord by Greg Dutcher writes these words:
“So when we find ourselves going against God’s Word, it is helpful to ask the question: “What idol am I worshipping?” That is a powerful question, because it exposes the heart. It asks us to inspect our motives. When I am unkind to my wife, for example, it’s not a mere slip. It shows that my heart is not right with God, that I love myself more than my wife…. My own convenience, my own preferences, my own comfort have become my idol.”
Behind every sin is an idol. Too often behind every good act there is an idol too. I might serve in ministry for my reputation or another’s praise rather than for Christ. I might work hard at my job longing for a raise or promotion rather than in service to Christ. Again and again the Scriptures call us to serve God with all of our hearts (I Samuel 12:24, etc.) , but our hearts are too often divided. Our hearts are bent on serving other things – other gods. Here are a few thoughts to begin fighting idols.
1. Prayerfully examine your heart. Ask God to search your heart (Psalm 139:23-24). Evaluate why you do what you do. Is it for Christ or is there an idol in your life? Begin to identify your gods.
2. Confess your sin of idolatry to God. As you identify your gods, confess these idols to God. The first commandment tells us to not have any gods before the one true God. We are all guilty of breaking this command – confess your sins.
3. Celebrate the gospel. John Frame again writes: “Thinking about idolatry helps us measure ourselves accurately, to see how far we fall below God’s standards.” We could easily get depressed by how sinful we are. But we come to cross. We claim his forgiveness. We celebrate the glorious truth that Jesus died FOR EVERY TIME we sin. In Christ, we are clean and pure in God’s sight.
4. Seek to serve God with all your heart. The truth of the gospel – what Christ did for us, should motivate us to press forward to serve God alone. Turn away from the gods you identified. Ask God for help to serve him alone.
May God help us overcome our idols and serve him alone!
More thoughts on idols and fighting them in future posts….