We are at our most defective, our most infected, our most thieving selves when we are turned towards idols.
When we are shoulder-deep in worshipping “crafted heroes” (a goal; an idea; a status; a person; people in mass, group or whole; a label; literally fill in the blank with any other word other than Yahweh), we are one gulp away from drowning ourselves into destruction.
Each one of us has idols. There may be seasons we switch from one to the next. They may be seemingly minuscule, or they may be obvious to anyone. We may take knee at their shanty dwelling every day, or when the right button is pushed on the wrong day.
They may be masked as good-natured motives. Such as helping a friend, supporting someone you love, trying and trying again to keep peace, communicate, do your job well, be a leader, take back control in chaos. But then, when we’re not careful, these positives can contort to a whirlpool of negatives. When we make that action, that person, that title, that task more important than the Author of life Himself – that is the land mine that sets off a chain of events.
Please hear me and know that I am not saying any of those above actions are wrong. Nor are so many more where gifts are used and people are helped and environments are bettered and goals are reached. These are not the problem. That is the misguided notion, the slippery slope of legalistic labeling and suffocating under rules without remembering love, grace, and the power of the cross.
We are called to go into the world and bring glory to Him by giving ourselves through His strengths instilled in us. Whether that is being a leader, a shepherd, a helper, a host, a friend, a professional, a wife, husband, mother, sister, father, daughter, son, friend…anything we can be, can be beautiful when we’re called by His mercy to go and to be the lights in this world. The problem comes when we turn our task, our calling, into our identity – into that pinnacle of success and worth – into our direction of worship and home.
He is teaching me this friends.
I do not speak as one who does not apply, does not qualify.
I speak as one so profoundly guilty of praising wrong gods, serving with the wrong hope, professionally building sky-high pedestals for people to be shoved upon whether they ask for it or not.
I misuse my gifts, I blind my eyes straining to focus on the wrong horizon, I fall flat on my face not in prostrate worship of the One who used rib and His exhale to birth me to His kinship, but instead I fall flat because ignore the paths He has set for me and I constantly seek out the roads of turmoil and falsehood.
I will never pretend to be better-than. How could I possibly? If you know me at all, then you may know the not-so-well-kept secret of my self-debasement attitude and thought process. And I become stuck in such ruts because my praise and glory are going to the wrong ideas of beauty, of wholeness, of “good”. I’m not seeing Abba’s face of love and acceptance. I’m seeing man’s face of conditions and measuring sticks and disappointments and expectations and opinions of how I should be, when I should be thus and on and on and on. And it’s no one’s fault. Because no matter the motive of a person, no matter what they are asking of me, no one can cause me to be anything, act in any way, make any choice, live any life. I give the false sense of believing they do have such power.
But it’s me. I always have a choice. None of the choices may be pleasant or easy or appealing. But they are always there. And if I stand firm in my identity – the one that was formed on the top of a mountain, when my sentence was met, my crimes atoned for, the one that is finished and lasting and full – then I will always have a beacon of truth as to Who I am truly called by. Who has my days called out. Who will only call me to that which will bring goodness, growth, and His glory revealed. Who asks me to be nothing more than His. And who is the only One who can give me actual, living freedom. Freedom my lungs ache for. Freedom that is and was and will always be mine. No contorting by me is needed. No change, no hoops, no works. Pure freedom that was mine with the coming of my Savior.
It’s so hard sometimes (being honest: most times) to truly feel that truth,
to absorb it deep into marrow. And He stays with me. Working, kneading it in.
Reminding me as often as it takes. That I am His. He is the Alpha, Omega.
Showing me over and over that He is the only One I am to seek, to proclaim,
to worship. I did not make Him. He made me. And He made me to be free.