What do you worship?
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6
As I have looked back on my life, I can see how God has directed my life. Oftentimes it is through something that I like to call ~ God desires. These desires are within and they steer me to new places, direct me to study certain topics and create new areas of interest. It is the Holy Spirit within, a GPS that guides me. It is like a rope that is wrapped around my heart… pulling me to new and different places which soon become foot steps to follow the Lord.
As the saying goes, looking back on your life oftentimes gives you 20/20 vision. I can clearly see how God’s transforming power has molded me to the place where I am today … leading a woman’s bible study. My 30 year old self would have told you “Leading a bible study? Nope, not me." I vividly remember a phone call I received many years ago. I was asked if I would consider a leadership role in a student ministry. After listening, I politely explained how I wasn’t the right person for the job. How could I teach the word of God if I didn’t have a burning desire to study it? I attended bible studies and would complete the lessons, however I never had a real hunger to do a dive deep into studying scripture.
My life at that time was filled with many things . Friendships always seemed to take the front seat. Most days were spent either hanging with friends or talking with them on the phone. Their issues and problems became my issues and problems. I would easily become weighted down by what they were carrying. I loved being their helper, as it made me feel loved and wanted. As innocent as friendships can be, too much of anything can start taking place of where God was designed to be.
Tim Keller says an idol is “anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, and anything that you seek to give you what only God can give.” Idols can come in many forms. According to biblestudytools.com the top 10 common idols are self, security, approval, relationships, comfort, success, health, food, intellect and wealth. I know we all hold many of these things with high esteem. They are not bad on their own, it just becomes dangerous when they take the place where God should be.
“Those who cling to worthless idols, turn away God’s love for them”
In Paul Tripp's book, Instruments in the Redeemers Hand, He reminds us that the human heart is not in good shape and right at the heart of our heart problems lies the problem of idolatry. Our hearts were made to love and worship God, but since the fall humans have turned away from God and replaced Him with a thousand substitutes. Humans are hardwired to worship. He goes on to say that when we turn from God we don’t stop worshipping, we just begin to worship other things. So the question isn’t “Do you worship?”… the real question is “What do you worship?”.
The problem with an idol is they take the place of God. We start worshipping, thinking, desiring more of those things, instead of God. A good thing can quickly become a bad thing if we aren’t careful. So what are we to do? How are we suppose to guard against this and what do we do when we recognize idols in our lives?
We need to have a new dependance on God, a renewed love and passion for Him to put Him first.
Ask yourself, what has most of my attention and affection? Spend time asking God to bring it to mind, He is there to help.
Once you recognize and name it; come before God and acknowledge the idol.
Confess and repent. It is important to remember that repenting requires action. It is the "turning away from" that is required in repentance. You are replacing one action for another.
Idols can block your attention towards God. Now that you have repented, spend time talking to Him. If you are a follower of Christ, you have the Holy Spirit within. God is with you and is your Helper.
Give God your “first fruits” of the day. Choosing to give God your time and attention is important. Spend time praying and reading scripture. Worship Him with praise and thanksgiving.
We must train ourselves to focus on Him, treasure Him and delight in Him. He is the source of everything we need: comfort, security, love, wisdom, protection, healing, peace, patience and joy. Our God encompasses all of these things. In this training, we have the Holy Spirit as our teacher and guide. He will put new desires in our hearts. God desires will be easier to recognize when we put Him in His rightful place.
Walking with God is a marathon and not a sprint. He is always rooting us on, anxiously awaiting us to return back to Him. He welcomes us with open arms and we soon realize that when He is in the rightful place in our lives, we are the ones who benefit most.
“This is what the Lords says- I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.”