bowing down.

March 28, 2013

Sometimes I think we overlook the sin of idolatry
because it seems like an issue of the distant past.
We don't have golden calves stationed in our town squares,
there aren't street corner booths selling miniature statues of pagan gods and
our bosses and government leaders don't make large statues of themselves
and force us to literally bow down to them.
But idolatry just might be bigger and badder today than it was in biblical times
because the enemy has gotten crafty with the way he disguises it.
Recognizing the idols in your life is vital to keeping God where He should be.
In first place.

Idolizing others
- famous celebrities, talented friends, high-traffic bloggers -
is an easy one to identify.
Idolizing things
- money, houses, cars, electronics, clothes -
is pretty easy as well.
But how about saving money?
Eating right?
Working out?
And, heaven help me...crafting?
Or even, pleasing others?
How can good things turn into bad idols?
When does it turn into worship?

I was recently browsing the netflix menu for a show to watch
and landed on "extreme couponing".
I had heard about it and thought it might be entertaining.
But my curiosity quickly turned to shock as a lady on the program
referred to her stack of coupon books as her "holy bibles"
and her "covenant' as "thou shalt not pay retail".
The people featured on this episode had an obscene
amount of surplus items stock piled all over their house.
Under beds, in garages, basements, bedrooms,
anywhere they could find to house more shelves of loot.
50 bottles of ketchup.
100 packages of toilet paper.
Enough canned food to feed an army.
75 containers of deodorant.
Why is it necessary to have all of that STUFF...for yourself??
All I could think about was how many people
are in need of these basic items every. day.
How amazing would it be to spend $30 (or less!)
on $1000 worth of groceries every week, like these people,
and then donate the items to food pantries and kitchens?
(Hopefully some of them do!)
Another shocking aspect of this show was the high
these people experienced watching their bill amount
tick down with each coupon scanned.
Saving money is a good thing.
But when it becomes a DRUG,
causing you to sweat, shake and your heart to pound (yes, this happened!),
it might be safe to say it's reached the point of idolatry.

My friend jami has recently cut sugar from her diet
during this time of lent as a way to lean more on Christ
and not the sugary treats that used to comfort her.
She's doing a great job and has posted about all the ways cutting sugar
has improved her health, her attitude and her faith.
My friend Chelsea is passionate about healthy eating
and is always researching new ways to alter
her family's diet to help fight illness and allergies.
I, myself, am very passionate about what goes into my family's bellies.
But you can idolize diet and physical health as "the most important thing in this world"
when its so not.
Is what we eat/put into our bodies important?
Does it matter to God?
I believe so.
Is your world/health/belief system going to come crashing down if you eat a cookie?
No. Of course not.
Don't let the pursuit of health or the way you look consume you.
Which leads me to my next point.

We have to be soooo careful about not idolzing ourselves.
Most of us fall on one side or the other of self-consumption.
We love ourselves too much or we hate ourselves too much.
Let's start with the former.
Beth Moore says
"If Satan cannot get people to worship him outright, he'll convince people to worship themselves."
That's a scary thought.
And he absolutely uses our culture to do so.
Smothering us with ideals of how we should look and treat ourselves.
James 4:10 says
"Humble yourselves before the Lord"
1 Peter 5:5 says
"Clothe yourselves in humility"
This is obviously an important characteristic to our Heavenly Father.
We MUST remember who is The Great I Am.
And the only reason we are worth anything is because of His great love for us.
I encourage you to read about King Nebuchadnezzar's fall from grace
because he failed to recognize Who truly held the power (book of Daniel).
And make sure to surround yourself with loving friends that you can trust
to give you a reality check if you get too big for your britches.
Sometimes our inflated egos get in the way of us seeing how far from earth we've drifted.

If this sounds crazy to you and you're thinking,
"Psssh. I do NOT worship myself. Quite the opposite in fact..."
don't think that you are safe from self-worship if you self-loath.
That is just as bad.
"Constantly thinking little of ourselves it still thinking constantly of ourselves."
"Nothing like priding yourself on hating yourself."
Remind yourself that even though we are not worthy of God's incredible
love, grace and mercy that He still wants to give it!
If you do not or will not accept the free gift of love
that Christ died on the cross for, then He died in vain.
He died for you.
He loves you.
Accept this.
Relish it.
Bring glory to HIS great name.
You are important because HE says so.
And remember,
"No one rich or poor, powerful or oppressed, healthy or infirm, enslaved or free, male or female, old or young, from east or west, of color or not, is exempt from the temptation to dangerous pride."

These are just a few unexpected forms idols can take on.
I personally am currently struggling with idolizing my to-do list
(you would laugh at that if you saw my house right now).
The Proverbial Woman taunts me everyday.
I both admire and despise her. ;)
I don't feel like its been a productive day unless there's a checkmark
by all of the things I wanted to accomplish.
And I've often sacrificed my children, husband and friends in the process
of pursuing those checkmarks.
Nothing is wrong with having goals.
But I know when the goals have consumed so much of my day,
my energy, and ME that I squeeze out time with the Lord
and I stop being the kind of wife, mother and friend He needs me to be,
then its time to refocus and reprioritize.

In this culture of idolizing
fame, beauty, money, success and ourselves,
its so easy to be consumed by the one that attacks your weakness
and then worship it.

"Satan never wastes a fiery dart by aiming at a spot covered by armor.
The bull's-eye is located dead center in our inconsistency."

Consistently put God first.
Cover yourself in His Armor.
Leave no limb exposed to the enemy's darts.

{All quotes from Beth Moore.
I'm currently in her Daniel study and getting lots of spiritual spankings
that I'm generously sharing with you.
You're welcome. ;)}

On a {much} lighter note,
one more day to enter my "cash clutch" giveaway! :)


About me said...

This is SO good! And so true!!!

Chelsea said...

Good stuff! I have been so convicted about false idols this year, so this post really spoke to me. For me, it's materialism. Feeling like I need to keep up with the Jones' is a really bad trait of mine I've been trying to break in the last year. It definitely became an idol. And, yeah, healthy eating. I have to try REALLY hard to make sure it never becomes more important to me than the Lord. Have you ever read this?

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