Friday, July 1, 2011

Idolatry 3

In the previous post, I describe idolatry as the belief that some idea, person, accomplishment, circumstance, institution, etc. is more reliable and more able to bring me to a place of joy and rest - is more trustworthy than - the character, word and person of Christ.
While idolatry involves belief, that is, misplaced trust in something or someone, it also necessarily involves unbelief.  Recognizing our unbelief is crucial to unearthing and destroying our idol.  We see this played out from the very beginning of human history.

Adam and Eve believed that eating from the tree that had been denied them, and the knowledge it would provide, was more trustworthy and more desirable than the person, words and promises of God.  Underlying that belief was UNBELIEF.  They did not believe that God was providing all that they needed at that point.  They did not trust that His intentions toward them were wholly good.  They did not have faith that He knew better than they did.  They did not rest in the knowledge that He cared for and loved them completely.

I see the reflection of my own heart in that of our first parents.  Behind all of my wrong-headed trusts, lies unbelief.  I don't trust that God will take care of, protect, provide for, defend, hold, keep, satisfy, and love me.  I don't believe that "everything is needful that He sends; nothing can be needful that He withholds" (as John Newton so eloquently puts it).  And so, like Adam and Eve, I grasp for something that I think WILL provide for, defend, keep and satisfy me.  Underlying my belief that this idol in which I trust will bring me rest and joy, lurks my unbelief that God will actually bring me to true rest and joy in His inscrutable way and time.  Not trusting Him, leads to a false, idolatrous trust in something or someone else which actually has NO POWER to deliver, save, heal, restore, or bring me joy.

Sin, in its most basic form then, is unbelief...not trusting God to be true to Himself.   The antidote is to have absolute confidence in Him!  How very simple that ought to be since He has proven His trustworthiness time and time again and in the most profoundly selfless ways!!  Yet how slow we are to trust Him, how prone to forget and how quick to erect our silly idols.  

Nevertheless, He remembers His covenant for our sake and relents according to His lovingkindness...He is compassionate and gracious and will not keep his anger forever...He has removed our trangressions far from us...He remembers that we are but dust...and He delivers us from our idolatrous unbelief.  Every single time.  

"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless His holy name!"  (Ps. 103)


Amanda Elizabeth said...

I can completely relate to this post. It was about a year ago that I realized I had swallowed this lie, and after I spent a lot of time in repentance and Scripture, I was finally able to experience the deep contentment I have now.

Lori Shaffer said...

Amanda, don't be surprised when you end up thee again! The fact is, as we change and grow, so do the idols we set up. I also believe that God exposes our idolatry to us gradually so as not to overwhelm us with guilt! Hopefully, the Spirit will call to mind your recent experience the next time you need to tear down some other idol.

Keep on looking at God and in the mirror of His Word, and He will faithfully keep you in His path!

Cindy R said...

Excellent thoughts! If I didn't have a total trust in God and His purposes, not only for my life but this world, one could easily fall prey to fear or a gamut of other unhealthy idols!

For all my political activities, it might seem to some that I am fixated on the realm of politics for solutions. Make no mistake, I rest firm in one truth, God rules and is sovereign over all the governments of the world. That assurance allows me the freedom to speak to ideas and philosophies rooted in Biblical principles of governing as I see them. Not that I would ever be so arrogant to think I hold all truth on matters of civil authority, for others would certainly stand in opposition, as well they should!

Thanks for the blog post!