Thursday, July 17, 2008

What's at the Top of Your Priority List?

"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." (John 7:37b)

Feeling a bit parched? Searching to quench that thirst with an iced tea or Diet Coke? Dive into the Word for real refreshment!I try to be diligent in my Bible reading and am often rewarded by God's speaking to my heart through particular scriptures. I pause and sometimes even write them down. The reflection usually ends there, however. This year, I would like to pursue the verses that God lays on my heart by pondering how He wants me to apply these verses in my life.

Here is what spoke to me this week:
"For the wrath of God is [being] revealed from heaven against all impiety and wickedness of men, who by their wickedness suppress the truth.
Since what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.
So they are without excuse;
for although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen."
Romans 1:18-25
Two weeks ago I belatedly joined the study of Kelly Mintor's No Other Gods, hosted by Beth Moore on her Living Proof Ministries blog. Although I'm still behind in the study, I have been convicted of having gods other than the One True God in my life. Kelly points out that most idols in our society today are not the graven images of "man or birds or animals or reptiles," but rather those things to which we devote our time and attention, and which put God in the background. In other words, we give idols a higher priority in our lives than we give God.
In the midst of taking inventory of my priority list, our wonderful new pastor, Rev. Phil Thrailkill, gave a sermon on idolatry, using the above passage as part of the Scripture for his message. Now, Pastor Phil would never in a million years be described as a minister who "tickles your ears" (2 Timothy 4:3) and people were squirming in their seats across the entire congregation as we realized that we were all guilty of one (or two or three . . .) forms of idolatry and were convicted of to whom or what we were giving our devotion.
Pastor Phil went on to explain how this passage from Romans illustrates the result of idolatry. Because God's majesty and sovereignty is evident in His creation, ignorance of (or ignoring) God is deliberate. Because we fail to worship our Creator, our attempts to think for ourselves without relying on His wisdom are futile and ultimately, our plans for ourselves do not turn out the way we had hoped (Proverbs 16:25).
As a result of our futile attempts to rely on our own wisdom, we begin to justify to ourselves why our sins really aren't sin. As sin breeds sin, we continue into idolatry, and we push God farther and farther into the background of our lives.
Verse 25 of the first chapter of Romans holds an insight for me. When I first read the verse, I passed over it quickly, thinking the "creature" was more of a kind of physical idol, a graven image that ancient people might have worshiped, but not really relevant to me. As I have meditated on these verses, however, I find that they are all about me. When we worship idols rather than God, we are really worshiping our own selfish desires. Whether those idols are money, food, our possessions, our achievements, or even our children, they reflect what our heart desires more than God. When we are guilty of idolatry, we are guilty of serving ourselves rather than serving God.
In order to tear down the idols in our lives, we should heed Jesus's words in Matthew 22:37 as he quotes Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 6:5): "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."
So, what verses have spoken to you this week? Post those verses on your own blog, along with how you see that God wants you to apply them in your life. Then, provide your link below so that we can drink from one another's wells of scripture.


Van said...

WOW - after posting about God's Wait Room and alluding to tearing down idols while we wait, I am now convicted that idolotry is truly an American problem and mine too. I pray God move us all to raise Him up to His rightful position. I know I have my work cut out for me as HE strengthens me. I pray for you too. Wish you could be in my Bible Study, friend, but Beth's sounds like one I should check out.

BethAnne said...

I was just talking with a friend yesterday about how we have idols that we dont even recognize. It's awful to think of how many things we place above God. Great reminder!