READ: Isaiah 44
In the early part of 2020, the world went on "punishment". We couldn't go into our jobs, watch sports on TV, or hang out with each other on the weekends. Most business operations were completely shut down, which meant we couldn't even shop. Many of us found our normal interrupted.
In those first few weeks, people were posting things that read:
"Now is the time to start that hustle."
"If you don't come out of quarantine with a new business, understand that you never lacked time, you lacked discipline."
I am a creative person and ambitious. I value the grace I've been given to be disciplined and have consistency. Seeing these kinds of messages stirred me up and I was read to jump feet first into a new project! Although, the cause for the lockdown was devastating, the idea of going into quarantine ignited an excitement to revamp my websites and relaunch portfolios. I had the time I always wanted! However, it was to my surprise that when while in prayer, the Holy Spirit told me to "stop everything and put everything to the side". He took me to the passage of scripture in Luke 10:38-42 about the story of Mary and Martha where He began to communicate His desire for me to stop trying to be a busy bee and come sit at His feet and commune with Him. I would like to say that I immediately dropped everything, and did what I was instructed, but the truth is that I struggled with doing so.
I would attempt to sit for a few minutes quietly, and then, new ideas come to mind for me to look into. My mind would begin to drift and my desire would shift to the elements of this project and away from God. As soon as I caught myself, I would repent of the wondering mind and try to refocus. It happened again. One morning, it fully dawned on me that I had somehow made an idol out of busyness and productivity. I was serving the "god of hustle and ambition". I knew it was an idol because of how I struggled to lay it down when God asked me to lay it down.
Often times we think of idolatry as the worship of other deities, statues, and shrines. We consider poles, monuments, and buildings erected forms of idolatry. However, an idol is anything that replaces the one, true God in our lives.
We can, and do, make idols out of our opinions, our relationships, the numbers in our bank account, how many material things we possess, our favorite celebrities, and the like. Whenever we exalt something above the knowledge or truth of God's Word, we need to seriously consider who we serve.
One of the ways we can tell if a person or a thing has become an idol is by asking the questions, could I be happy without it? Would I continue to serve God if I didn't get it? And, if God told me to lay it down, could I surrender it?
Jesus spoke about the peril of losing our first love in His rebuke of the church at Ephesus: “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:3–4).
The temptation to love a thing more than the one who is love is there. Our desires for things can trump our desires for the One who gives them. Our pursuits to gain and have can quench the peace and contentment made available to us. When we are prompted by the Holy Spirit to do a think, and we do not obey, it is an indication that we love and exalt that thing more than God.
In Exodus 20:3-5, it says, "“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—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 nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me..."
Anything that God asks us to lay down and we cannot do so with ease, has become an idol.
Maybe He told you to go on a social media fast.
Maybe He told you to stop working at a certain time of night.
Maybe He told you to sow money into someone.
Maybe He told you to spend time in His presence.
Maybe He told you to fast from food and to fill up on His Word instead.
Maybe He told you to break up with that person.
Idolatry extends beyond the worship of idols and images and false gods. Our modern idols are many and varied. Even for those who do not bow physically before a statue, idolatry is a matter of the heart—pride, self-centeredness, greed, gluttony, a love for possessions and ultimately rebellion against God. Is it any wonder that God hates it? The testimony of Scripture is that God alone is worthy of worship. Idol worship robs God of the glory that is rightfully His, and that is something He will not tolerate.
TODAY: Ask the Lord to reveal if there is anything that you have put before Him in your heart. Repent of any idolatry. Pray that God would be exalted over area. Be willing to lay down and surrender anything that He requires. May we be swift to obey!
Until next time,