Saturday, February 25, 2012

Idols are like Popcorn...

Thursday night, Jon Shea gave a message at Mission28 about idolatry and how much false advertising is involved in it. The main point he made was that idols always over-promise and under-deliver. (Sort of like popcorn...it doesn't taste as good as it smells and there's never enough to satisfy you)

So I guess the first big question to ask is: What IS an idol to begin with?

To understand what an idol is, we have to understand what worship is. Webster defines worship very dryly and calculatedly as the feeling of expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. But worship is more than just showing some admiration for God every now and again. It's giving our time, our lives away to whatever we believe in. It's kind of like the act of belief itself.

Worship is the purpose of everyone's lives, its what we were created to do, so we're always worshipping something. The problem is that what we worship isn't always God and when we worship anything other than God, the bible says we are committing idolatry. This is why:
(Luke 10:27) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
When we are distracted with other things, we aren't giving God all of our hearts, souls, or minds.

Jonah 2:8 says "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. (NIV)
In the ESV version, it says,
Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.
There is a huge gravity to those statements. Forfeiting and forsaking God's grace and hope of steadfast love? All to give up our live to worthless and vain idols that can never satisfy us? That's pretty heavy and it's given me a new perspective. It should make all of us ask the question, What is my idol? What is the thing that, if I lost it right now, I would potentially lose a sense of purpose or my mood would automatically suffer?

Anything (even good things in our lives) can become an idol to us. It could be fear, comfort, desire of recognition, relationships, money, success, pleasure, etc.

The condensed version of Jonah chapters 1 and 2 go like this:

When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to talk to the people about God and repentance, Jonah had an idol of comfort and didn't want to go. So instead, he rebels against God, jumps on a boat, and heads the opposite way. God was not happy and sent a little wrath Jonah's way and caused a huge storm. When the people on the boat figured out that Jonah was the object of God's wrath they threw him overboard to save themselves. Just when Jonah thought he was going to drown, God sent a giant fish to swallow him for a couple of days and bring him safely to shore. After all that, Jonah decided to do what God told him to do in the first place and headed towards Nineveh.

Moral of the story? Don't have an idol in your life that keeps you from doing God's will. He doesn't like it when He's not first in your life, because that's not what's best for you.

God is an incredibly jealous God, but also a gracious one. He's kind of like the dog that you're afraid to run away from because you know that he'll chase you.

Jesus died on the cross to break down the snare of idolatry. There is a blessing and peace that comes through obedience, especially with the hard things that He asks us to do. God asked Jonah to do something really hard, but what Jonah forgot was the promise that God would be with him to help him out along the way.

God helps us accomplish big things for Him, but we can only do those things if He is first in our lives and we don't have any idols in the way of our relationship with Him. The best thing for us is to go to Him thinking about what you have a tendency to worship besides God. What is your idol?

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