When you look at the Old Testament stories of the nation of Israel, you see one of their big struggles was with idol worship. They were always falling into worshiping the gods of the nations around them. Isn’t it a relief we don’t have to deal with that in our day and age?
Except we do. Instead of metal and wood, our idols look different, and as such, they’re sometimes harder to find and easier to justify. In the Christian life, an idol is anything we love more than we love God. And it’s not always easy to admit to that.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the idols of my life lately. When you start thinking about the things that you give time to instead of God, it can feel overwhelming at first. But the more I thought about the stuff in my life that takes my time, the more I realized they all really boiled down to one idol: myself. When I thought of the stuff I filled my time with, the things I got upset about when they weren’t happening, and the things I spent too much time thinking about, they all led back to me, what I want, and the fact that I want it right now. I love myself more than anything else.
And yet Jesus calls me to die to myself. In Luke 9:23 Jesus calls me to, “deny [myself], take up [my] cross daily and follow [Him].” Paul talks about being crucified with Christ so that it’s not longer he who lives but that Jesus lives in him. (Galatians 2:20) Living that way isn’t always easy. I’m finding it’s a daily battle.
In my life, it’s easy to be excited and passionate about the things around me and filling my own needs. It’s hard to be passionate about dying. I won’t know how to be like Christ instead of myself if I don’t know what Christ is like. So every day I have to spend time reading the Bible. Similar to the way I won’t know my wife well if I don’t spend daily time with her learning how to meet her needs, every day, I have to talk with God and give myself up to Him and ask for His help so that I can know Him and follow Him more.
Do you fight that same idol? Do you worship the ground you walk on and spend more time making your life better and easier rather than serving others? You’re not alone. Let’s put our idols of selfishness down and pick up the cross of Christ today instead. It won’t be easy. But Jesus promises that in Him, we’ll find true fulfillment.