The human heart is an idol factory... Every one of us from our mothers womb is an expert in inventing idols ~John Calvin
Idolatry is the most discussed problem in the Bible and one of the most powerful spiritual and intellectual concepts in the believer’s arsenal. Yet for Christians today it is one of the least meaningful notions and is surrounded with ironies. Perhaps this is why many evangelicals are ignorant of the idols in their lives… Contemporary evangelicals are little better at recognizing and resisting idols than modern secular people are…There can be no believing communities without an unswerving eye to the detection and destruction of idols. ~Oz Guinness & John Steel
Idolatry is like a disease with you and I while we live and walk in a broken world. Our hearts wander looking for someone or something to worship--to make ultimate in our life other than Christ. Even good things can become ultimate and then are lifted high in our heart's affections, above our relationship with Jesus. It's a slow working and seems harmless in the beginning, but the thing about our idols is that they don't love us, they lie to us, and they never deliver on what they promise to give us: an inner satisfaction, comfort, approval, power, or control (the root idols).
We serve a God who asks for heartfelt worship of Him in everything. I used to just think of worship in terms of what's done sitting in the pew on Sunday morning, or when we raise our hands and clap along at a Christian rock concert, but worship is an action that you and I are perpetually preforming. We're always worshiping something, and sin is what occurs when we worship created things rather than the Creator. All sin is a result of misplaced worship. And what we worship other than God becomes an idol.
God cares more about the why behind our sins, then the actual sinful behavior, because as we've said repeatedly now, any actions, choices, and words flow out of what is central to your being, your heart. Until hearts becomes transformed and are refined lasting, genuine change doesn't occur outwardly.
Uprooting idols is a hard, ugly, painful business that has to be done through the healing grace, strength, and power of God, but it begins with repentance:
Repentance is the step-by-step walking out of our redemption, the bit-by-bit turning of our hearts from the corruption of idolatry to the sweetness and rest in treasuring God above all. -Mike Wilkerson in Redemption
Treasuring God is what worship is all about. We have to make our passion and worship for Christ bigger and stronger than our passion and worship of other idols.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. -Luke 6:45
So that pornography addiction (or any addiction) points to an idol. Or that sharp tongue that you cannot seem to control points to a idol. The list goes on and on, but all sin simply reveals idol worship instead of worshiping the Living God. And when we choose to worship anything or anybody other than God, we're sure to become disappointed, despondent, and eventually depressed. Here's the thing about idols, they always over-promise you and I something we crave, but they then under-deliver. It all becomes one vicious cycle that needs to be broken. But we can't do it on our own. I know this for a fact, because I've tried and failed miserably at that plan of attack. The answer certainly doesn't lie in trying harder either, because we grow weary with sin-control.
The answer lies in right worship of Christ. (Not as an add-on to our lives, but as a replacement of lesser loves.) This is the remedy and our hope.
The best way to deal with sin is not to attempt to reform, but to adore the Savior. Winning over our lower nature is made possible by adoration... Rules, instead of limiting our sin, define sin, rivet our attention to it, lead us to desire it. Worship avoids all interest in sin, pointing our hearts and minds in a totally different direction. -Calvin Miller
If you're stumbling today, turn from the sin, and adore the Savior. Make an appointment with the Sovereign Physician get a real pulse on where you're heart is at. Don't bother wasting your time beating yourself up and thinking of more ways that you can be better or clean up the act. Christ already was better for you. Find rest and healing in this grace. Now turn your gaze towards Him and worship.
He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." Mark 2:17 NKJV
What ends up happening to so many of us is that we spend so much time trying to put sin to death that we don’t spend enough time striving to know God deeply, trying to gaze upon the wonder of Jesus Christ and have that transform our affections to the point where our love and hope are steadfastly on Christ. The goal is this: that Christ would become more beautiful and desirable than the allure of sin. ~Matt Chandler
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