In my message on Sunday I addressed the issue of idolatry and how it is easy for us at times to be exchanging our loyalty and love for God with love and loyalty to other things or people. It is a hard concept for us because we can easily justify our habits and behavior. One of the ways that sometimes gives us a clue as to what is an idol for us is this: what “thing”, habit, or possession is the hardest for you to let go of? Now when I say let go I mean if someone walked into your life and had the authority to simply confiscate it from your life, how would you react to that? The more we are attached to something, and the more we value it, the harder we usually have in letting go. Which item, thing, or possession would you fight the most about if someone tried taking it from you? Sometimes if we asked someone else in your family they might identify that in your life much easier than you can.
I work from the premise that the only “thing” that we cannot live without is our relationship with God. The only thing that we can’t live without is Christ, at least, if you are a Christian. Now that sounds great on paper, but there is a realism here that is sometimes difficult for us to deal with. Many people have developed addictive behaviors with things they possess: video games, cars, sports, hobbies and household items. I know some people become very possessive over pets, regardless if you are a cat or dog lover, or some other version of what you would call a pet. If someone tried to take their pets away, it would be tantamount to taking a child from the home.
What needs to change?
In any event, the key for many of us is not what are you addicted to, because most of us would have exactly the same response: “I’m not addicted to anything; if God asked me to give something up I would do it… but God has not asked me to give this up so I don’t feel I need to let it go.” Unfortunately, I get this because it often shapes my own thinking. However, I believe a better thought process is to realize that, as Christians, we don’t own anything. God has entrusted us with His provisions (which He has generously given to us) and He asks us to be stewards of His resources; they are not really ours in the first place. Furthermore, idolatry is not only about possessions; sometimes it is about “time”.
The challenge for me is: to increase my personal prayer time with the Lord, especially at night, before I head off to bed. It is easy to stay up late, watch a show, and spend little time with the Lord. Nothing wrong with shows or relaxing, but for me it is better to make adjustments because I want to value my relationship with Christ more than the tug of self-preservation and laziness. So I will make a decision to make time to seek Him and that is the last thing I do before I drop off for the night. The reason is that it is easy to say we need to change, and do nothing, rather than make real adjustments to the way we live when we truly believe a change needs to be made.