Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cast Out the Idol and Tear Down the Altar

So often, we build certain things up in our lives to the point that they become our idols. We don't think of them as idols, we just see them as our dreams, our goals, and our ambitions; but when those things become the central focus in our lives, they do, in essence, become our idols. Anything that we place above our love and passion for the true and living God becomes an idol. God warned us early on that we were to give nothing first place above Him in our lives, "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below." (Ex. 20:3-4 NIV) I confess that I had one such idol and recently, I went before God, and confessed that I had built up this idol. I then cast the idol out and tore down the altar that I had built up in my heart and I surrendered the dream that had fostered the idol to my heavenly Father. Now as you sit with your mouth gaping, trying to figure out to what idol I am referring, let me assure you that I know that there is but the one true God and His son Jesus Christ who died for my sins. I also know that when I received salvation, God and Jesus came to live in me and with me in the person of the Holy Spirit. When I speak of an idol in my life and the altar to that idol, I am speaking of a dream that I have carried in my heart since I was a little girl. As most little girls do, I dreamed of becoming a wife and a mother. I always wanted four children, two boys and two girls. Even as a young girl, I would think of raising a family then having that family go off and build families of their own and then my children and grandchildren would return home to visit my husband and me. When I got saved at twenty-nine, my dream for a family became more. My dream became one of marrying a good godly man and together raising children who would love and honor God. I dreamed of leaving behind a legacy of children and grandchildren whose lives honored God and brought Him glory. As time passed and this dream did not come to pass as I'd hoped and believed, I realize now that it became larger than a dream. It became a source of contention between God and me. My simple dream that most young girls have became my idol. And the altar to this idol became the place where I sent up my sacrifices of bitter complaints and feelings of slight! I lamented about the unfairness of it all; that as a saved woman of God I'd placed my trust in Him to choose for me and He let me down! I'd wasted my childbearing years trusting Him to bring this dream to pass! I was robbed! It was unfair! Where were my children? So these children, this husband that I didn't have became the central focus of my life. They became my god! My bitterness towards God drove me farther from Him and often caused me to make foolish choices and open my life to people that were clearly not God's choice for me, all in a pursuit of my god, my idol. I believed that I was sincere when I sought God for my family, when I prayed about this dream of mine; but in truth it was all about what I wanted not about what God had planned for my life. God didn’t answer this prayer because He doesn’t love me, and it doesn’t necessarily mean this is not a part of His plan for me. The problem was that the asking was not about “God what do you want with my life, what are Your plans for my life?” The problem was that my prayers were more like a spoiled child, “I want and You won’t…” The Apostle James warns of these types of prayers, “Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons.” (James 4:3 CEV) The longer this dream did not happen for me, the bigger it became in my heart and mind and the more selfishly motivated my prayer became. The thing is that God is not going to change because we get mad at Him or we pout when He doesn’t do things our way. He is sovereign, we are His and He doesn’t alter the plans he makes for our lives, not even for us. We may alter them but that only ends up hurting us! I realized a little while ago that what I wanted more than this dream was a walk with God that would glorify Him; a life that would bring glory and honor to Jesus, the one who died that I could live. My pursuit now is to honor God, to open up the Kingdom of Heaven to all who would receive it. What about you dear ones? What dreams of yours have become your idols? Have you given them first place in your life? My challenge to you is this beloved, cast out the idol that you have built up in your life, tear down its altar and surrender that dream that you’ve carried to the One who always had a greater plan for you, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11 NKJV) The truth is that this life is not about our wants, it is about what God the Father desires of us. Our pursuit should not be centered on us; it must be centered on Him. Jesus gave this directive to His disciples and by extension, to us, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33 NKJV) I know that there is more to this scripture, but let’s just focus on this part and let Him do the rest. As always, be encouraged dearly loved ones!