February 17, 2010

Smile and say 'iphone!'

What does it mean to us in America that Jesus is enough? I’ll bet the Christians in Haiti could tell us. When everything else is absolutely gone, is Jesus enough?

I heard a sermon recently about Genesis 22, where God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only (legitimate) son. The sermon explained that God was testing Abraham because Isaac was the one that everything else hung on in his life. Isaac was his promise, his heritage, his heir. Isaac was everything. Sacrifice ISAAC?

The preacher went on to say that each of us has idols in our lives, too. We think of idols as little carved images sitting on a shelf or in a temple somewhere. But our hearts are temples to the Living God. What does it mean to me personally that Jesus is enough? What are my idols? In the midst of my “stuff,” my job, my relationships, my activities… what stands in the way of the development of my relationship with God?

It isn’t hard for me to put my finger on several things, but they’re not tangibles. They’re invisible idols–things that are harder to visualize and categorize. They show themselves in my responses. What makes me angry? Why? Here are some examples.

I end up being late for church and get angry with Gary (this is no particular time, but equally ridiculous scenarios have actually happened…). Why am I angry? Because of what others will think. Why does it matter? Because their opinions are too important to me. What they think of me matters more than anything else at that moment. My idol? My self-esteem/pride. The fallout of my idolatry? An argument with my spouse and time wasted in damage control for our relationship. See what my sin has caused? A little bit of death where there could have been life and joy in that relationship. Sigh.

Another day, we’re eating at a restaurant. My hungry hubby orders a fried seafood platter. I criticize his choice and urge him to order something broiled. He’s now hurt and angry and not even hungry. I’m frustrated; I was only trying to help… or was I? My response was criticism (masked anger). Why was I angry? Because he’s not taking care of himself. Why is that important? Because if he doesn’t take care of himself, he’ll die and leave me a widow. My idols? Control and Security. The fallout of my idolatry? Relationship damage again.

So the sermon really applies to me. I hate dethroning idols. It’s painful and embarrassing. But for me, it’s part of the growth process. I’ll be so glad if I can ever really trust God for those things and stop letting those idols climb back onto the throne. I’ve got to learn to let Jesus be enough. I pray it doesn’t take a devastating earthquake in my life to teach me that lesson.

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