Archive for June, 2013

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Idols


2013
06.24

Idols. We all have them in some way or another. If you’re anything like me, you hear that term and think of a carved image that people who lived forever ago bowed down to. I’m not one to actively think of them as a danger in my life. I’ve never been all that crafty with wood and thus have never created anything worth, well, anything. Therefore, “idols” just aren’t an issue. Silly as this sounds, it’s legitimately how I’ve viewed false gods and idols as they apply to me for far too long. This last semester at my school I was introduced to a song by Jimmy Needham called “Clear the Stage.” Everyone just loved it. There were countless posts on Facebook and people humming it through the dorm. I’ll gladly admit I took part in the small obsession. The song deals with the subject of idols which is what sent me upon the realization of their roles in my life. “Anything I put before my God is an idol. Anything I want with all my heart is an idol. And anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol. And anything that I give all my love is an idol.” Those lyrics cut my heart like a knife. Some days I thought of sleep or coffee or friends or boys or my hair more than God. No, most days. I remember sitting in chapel and feeling sick as thousands of worthless false gods became clear in my life.

It’s funny how God works. He planted that seed in me months ago, as I’d imagine He did to many other students as well. Now I’m home for the summer doing a Bible study on having no other gods. In this study written by Kelly Minter she gives a definition “In biblical terms, it is something other than God that we set our heart on (Luke 12:29; 1 Cor. 10:19), that motivates us (1 Cor. 4:5), that masters and rules us (Psalms 119:133; Eph. 5:5), or that we trust, fear, or serve (Isa. 42:17; Matt. 6:24; Luke 12:4-5)…An idol can also be referred to as a ‘false god’ or a ‘functional god.” I read this and thought “oh snap, this is a little more than just a block of wood.” I’m incredibly guilty of being motivated by anything that feels right in the moment, even good things. The term “functional god” wasn’t one which was too familiar to me, but it makes sense. It bears the obvious question “who or what is actually acting as god in my life?” I claim the God of the Bible, but what do my daily actions and thoughts depend upon?

Through all of this I’ve had to observe, ponder and pray through the false gods in my life. Sadly, I’ve noticed many. Comfort, appearance, relationships, laziness are just a few of a massive list. I’ll share a little about some dominate ones that fight for my worship. First off, laziness. I like to sleep and to be relaxed. It can easily master me. At school this could (and did) take a serious toll. Not putting all my effort into school, devotions, friendships all because it was hard. Unfortunately, unlike other areas where I struggle, laziness has no redeeming quality. There is nothing attractive or godly about the matter. Secondly, relationships, but more directly…dating relationships. My school is where you go to find your spouse. It’s easy to always have that in the back of your mind (if not the very front.) Thirdly, theology. This one is quite possibly the trickiest for me. Going to a Christian College, I get fed incredible knowledge about the Word; it’s addicting. Oh, but how prideful I get. I’ll argue a theological point and feel so good about myself, even if it causes a wall to go up with a fellow believer. Goodness, thinking about this just makes me sick. So often I’ve allowed Theology to rule my view of God and not the other way around. Please, do not miss understand me. Theology is wonderful and completely worthy of our conversations, studies, time and thoughts, but not of our worship. God alone is worthy of such. Once God revealed this particular idol, I’ve been able to rest in His great love even more.

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.” This is the very first commandment and I think that’s because God knows are tendencies to run to idols and the moment we do we start sinning all over the place. It’s time for me to “clear the stage” in my life and give God all the glory. I’m grateful that He gave believers the Holy Spirit to be our Helper, because there is no way in my flesh I could do this, but through His leading idols can be destroyed.

 

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God’s Chisel.


2013
06.10

At my Christian College I learn a lot about God, mostly because I’m getting a Bible degree. I learn about different aspects of Theology and in-depth studies of various Books of Scripture. It can all become very intellectual. In one sense, this is good, right? I mean, the Christian faith is one of intellect as well as emotion. Unfortunately, there’s a natural tendency to make God just an object of study and less of a personal relationship. This is a struggle even being home. I still read books on Theology and discuss controversial Scriptural matters. Sometimes I don’t feel God. I’ll read His Word and “feel” nothing, but will have a thousand good “thoughts.” However, even in these moments I’m still His workmanship. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10

Something that’s truly been hitting me since I’ve been home is how God is my Creator and is perfecting me daily. It’s not because I desire to go into ministry or take Bible classes that He does this. In fact, I do those things because He’s shaping me. Those weren’t my ideas, but His. I’ve not been the most faithful about staying in the Word or in prayer since being on summer break, but He’s been faithful to continue molding me for His purpose. I’ve complained to my mom on several occasions that I miss the encouragement from my college friends. I complain about how I miss their fellowship and I do. She reminds me of what God has for me here. I still have my school friends to call when needed, I have my family and people here who I can be an encouragement to.

God’s chisel hurts sometimes. He breaks off sin in our life which has no place in the life of one of His children. I’ve experienced this in a very real way recently. I’ve had to apologize, tell truths and make changes. It was not fun and if I wasn’t held to the standard of perfection, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it. There’s a reason the Holy Spirit is referred to as our “Helper.”

This is a video that I’ve watched over and over. It reminds me of God’s chisel in my life: God\’s Chisel My favorite part is when the one guy says “But I’ve let you down so many times.” and God says “You have never held me up, I hold you up with my Righteous right hand.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to God “But, I’ve let you down.”

 

Even though in the moment it’s not my favorite, I’m so thankful that God is still working on me, no matter what state I’m in. All in all, He’s making me more like His perfect Son, Jesus Christ.

“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made you alive together with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of the requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us, And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Col. 2: 13-14

He has made us alive. No work we can or can’t do, could make that possible, only God. That same grace that saved us from hell, that nailed Christ to the cross, is what makes me able to not be an absolute good person and still be righteous in God’s eyes. That grace is what makes God’s chisel happen, not my “Christian performance.” This time at home is just another part of His process whether I feel it or not.