Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Idols of the Heart

We were born to be worshipers.  We will worship anything, even good things.  God is seeking those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

[a]What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? [b]Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask [c]with wrong motives, so that you may spend it [d]on your pleasures.

It has been said that we are like nest of idols.  Just imagine this nest and each stick is an idol.  Maybe I should first define what an idol is.  It is, of course anything we worship besides God.  It is something that we seek to give us the things that God wants to give us.  We seek after things, even good things to give us life and all that means.  We seek after significance, value, worth, love, acceptance, peace, joy, life and life abundant in everything but God.

As I have said, it can be a good thing.  It is when our desires become demands to be happy or to have life.  It can be to think, if I just had this happy marriage, or a marriage at all, I would be happy at last.  If my kids were successful and happy then life would have meaning. If I just felt better about me, more education, healthier, more attractive.   If no one is mad at me.  If they give me love and acceptance I will have value and worth.  I will be of value to someone then I will feel good about myself.  If I am a success, clean house, more possessions, climb the later at work, have a good ministry, understand and know theology, look a certain way.  If people think I am of value.  If they accept me as I am.  If I don't have to face rejection then I will be ok.  If I can just please this certain person or group of people.  If my family get along and I have no conflict in my life.  If my life goes along as I have planned with no suffering then that will be the abundant life.  These things that we think offer us this are an illusion, they are an idol.  We look for comfort and healing in things.  All these are things that God has promised us as His children, in the gospel, but we cling to like a magnet, to try to find ourselves and who we really are, rather than find these things we so desire, the deepest needs of our heart and what they can give us, in Christ.  What causes fights and quarrels among us is, we come up against these things we want to find life and value in and we do not get them.  We see others blocking these things.  It is God mercy in destroying the idols of our hearts in allowing these conflicts to happen.  They are stripped from us, if we would only, but love and let these things go to their rightful place, but we need Jesus to do what we cannot do. We are totally incapable of doing this on our own. It is through dying to self, to find life in Him and Him alone.  It is a painful process but it brings life.  God will be faithful to bring our hearts to a heart of worship of Him.  It is a supernatural thing when we love others and God as He loves us.  It is all of grace.  His Spirit reminds us of our Sonship.  We begin by remembering the cross and drinking in His love for us.  We love out of an abundance not a need.

Christ says we have value and worth in Him and Him alone.  That the Father is not angry at us but accepts us because of what Jesus has done for us.  That He will never leave us or reject us.  That He will never leave us, be disappointed in us, discouraged with us but totally love us.  That there is nothing we can do to make Him love us any more and nothing we can do to make Him love us any less.  He is forever for us.  He is on our side working all things together for us, so we can rest and enjoy the ride.  We don't have to be self conscience or second guess our steps, but go forth in joy and peace, knowing our Father is in control.  We are a child of the King and our place is in His Kingdom.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Satan and the world and the flesh will tell us we need to do more, try harder.  That we don't measure up and never will.  Jesus says it is finished.  That He is in charge of us becoming like Him and that when the Father looks at us He sees us as righteous with the righteousness of Christ.  That He can heal all our wounds, forgive all our sins and set us free to love and worship Him in Spirit and in truth.    He will hold on to us and keep us from falling.  He is the Truth and the way.  He is the Life.  It is through relationship and trusting Him that we find peace and joy and who we really are.  We are loved and never forgotten.  He does not slumber or sleep but is always working in our lives, the lives of those we love and on our behalf.  It is all of grace and all for His glory.  We are chosen and held on to and perfected in Him.  The Father sees us as the perfect righteousness of Christ now.  He loves us unconditionally, expecting nothing in return.  Loving the unloveable, us.  So now we can go out in grace loving others with this same love that lives in us, selflessly.  Loving others more for them that we do ourselves.  It is the idol of self that keeps us enslaved to all these other idols.

In this life we will never offer perfect love and worship to God.  We must come to Him on the merits of His Son.  We can die to ourselves.  We can come in His righteousness and His love for us, that is faithful. Our love will fail but His love never fails.