Do you ever just feel down? I’ve had that experience on a few occasions this week and I’m not entirely sure why, but it was this evening while I was cleaning up after dinner that I realized I’d not prayed about it. It’s interesting how sometimes we simply roll through life without even talking to God about what we’re going through. What’s going on with me, God? I asked silently while wiping down the counter. There was no clear answer right away but it soon became clear what my problem was.
Ah, idolatry. How I loathe thee. Let me count the ways… but seriously. This again? Now let me clarify. I’m not standing with hands held high to a divine bovine as in the image above. Instead I was being convicted by the Holy Spirit for offering sacrifices to my more modern idols, namely comfort, convenience, and pleasure. Now you might say:
“But Dan, it’s not a sin to be comfortable! It’s not a sin to want a better life and to enjoy yourself!”
Well, it can be. Idolatry in it’s simplest definition is taking a sacrifice from YHWH and laying it down to something else we worship which is an idol. In the days of the Old Testament the Israelites brought their grain, animals, and even their children to be sacrificed to the false pagan gods, and they were judged for it. In the same way I find myself sacrificing my time and talents to the false gods of comfort and convenience rather than laying them before my Lord God. I’m so tired of this in my life too. In my heart (or maybe it’s my head, not entirely sure at the time) I want to be entirely His; on fire for what He has for me. I want to be a part of that generation that He raises up to serve him wholeheartedly but I can’t do that if I’m more interested in watching movies, reading books, messing around on Facebook, or just loafing around instead of talking to and listening to Him. So I asked him, What’s keeping me from living completely sold out for You? It’s not like I’m so drawn to these other things that they’re keeping me from serving and worshiping You the way my heart desires, so what’s the deal? His reply came right away:
“Beware the fear of man.”
That’s it. That’s the root. While idolatry is a problem, the big thing that keeps me from really loving my God the way I want is being overly concerned with what others will think. And the irony is that it’s not an issue when I’m with unbelievers. It comes out most when I’m among other Christians. Well, I want to raise my hands high. I want to dance, and sing to God at the top of my lungs I think, but not here. There’s too many people. It might be distracting to them, and maybe they’ll think I’m weird. Seriously? What the deuce is that? Now I’m not trying to come down on my brothers or sisters here because ultimately it’s my own pride that causes this fear of man in the first place, but it’s usually when I should be able to be the most open about it that I feel the most constrained. It’s like there is a fortified wall around my heart, not to keep others out but to keep myself in and when we worship together I feel my soul pounding on the walls trying to get out.
Jesus, set me free. Set us all free to worship you fully and with our whole hearts, leaving nothing on the table to be sacrificed to our idols. I’m done with this half-hearted lifestyle, consumed with the things and fears of this fleeting world. Push us to tear down our idols by you’re awesome power and leave us free to be your set-apart children. Make us more and more like you in all we say and do. God I repent of my idolatry and pray for your Holy Spirit to consume these areas of my heart and to take up permanent residence. Thank you for not giving up on this stubborn and stiff-necked man. I pray this for myself and for everyone reading this now and in the future, in your magnificent name Jesus. Amen.