Idolatry

My view of grace this week has been in God exposing sin in order to draw me closer to Him and walk me further along in the sanctification process. It is my belief He is doing this to bring about the specific calling over my life (to be made like Christ to one day sit at the right hand of God). I also believe this exposure is to bring about a general calling over my life that has been spoken over me through scripture, my community and times of prayer. It seems like He is mobilizing me for an impact I am somewhat aware of, but it hasn’t been fully revealed to date. A few years ago I was so fearful of exposure; exposure to others and exposure to God. Now, although it feels awkward and out of my control, exposure of sin is warmly welcomed into my life.  I just want to know God more and the power of His resurrection in order to be made like Him and be mobilized for the maximum impact for the Kingdom of God while I am on Earth.

I am in such a sweet place in life right now. Have all of my hopes and dreams come true…nope. Do I desire things I have not received…yep. Are some of the things I desire promised to me….nope.  Does my soul literally long for things that I can’t have…yep. Do I go to bed feeling restless from the day…a lot.  But, again, it is such a sweet spot.  The overarching place I am at with the Lord right now is being content in Him and Him alone despite the world around me.  For the past two years the Lord has echoed a phrase through the Holy Spirit in my mind and it has been “to keep your head down in the Word.” It’s almost like one of those commercials where everything is moving really fast around the person while they sit still with their nose in a book. By God’s grace, this is what I have done.

For about a month now I have started meeting with a Nutritionist that is starting her own practice that involves bringing the Gospel into nutrition. She was recommended to me by a friend at church and I have been so thankful to connect with her. I wanted to meet with her because I desperately wanted help in my relationship with food but I wanted it to be centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ because I believe that all chaos in our lives is an issue of the heart. I didn’t want to go see a nutritionist that just put me on a diet and gave me ten easy steps to becoming healthy. She has been so gracious to let me come in week after week and explain where I am and what my thoughts are in regards to food. If you want to know more I would love to share. It’s been really awesome. I told her at the beginning I had no idea how this was connected to my heart and spiritually with the Lord. I was overwhelmed and had no idea how to grow out of what I felt was something that has mastered me for most of my 27 years of life.  I knew that after 27 years I, with my methods, was the one that got myself to where I am with food…what makes me think my methods will be what gets me out of it now?  I haven’t even always been aware of my relationship with food. I also knew enough about my heart to say that even if I looked a certain way, weighed a certain amount or had a certain dress size, I would still feel the way I do now. So for the last month or so I have been in a lot of turmoil and searching still trying to have methods and not really understanding how my heart plays into all of this and certainly not understanding how Christ fits into this.

-UNTIL THIS WEEK-

I basically read my journal to her with all of my fears and thoughts regarding food and body image. She was so gracious to let me cry and read. I am unsure of how she understood me:)  At the end of it she was so gracious and sweet and she told me that my body was my idol.

MY BODY IS MY IDOL? My body is my idol.

I thought back through the things I mentioned to her and then set down to read “The Gospel in Life” by Tim Keller tonight (because I knew it had a chapter on idolatry) and it makes sense now.

Here have been some of my thoughts in regards to my body…you can substitute whatever has been your thought pattern lately:

-If I look a certain way I will have success in (fill in the blank).

-If I were prettier I won’t fail at (fill in the blank).

-If I was a smaller size such and such could happen.

-When I get to my goal weight I will feel content with all things around me because it will bring about various forms of success.

-I will be happy when “this” happens

-The world will be right “if only this”

Wow. That is a lot of pressure to put on my body…a created thing.  That is a lot to hope in something that was not meant to provide hope for me.  My nutritionist said that my body did not and cannot die for me…but Christ did. I know that is obvious and I know this cistern has a lot of holes. But…that’s where I have been.

My hope has been displaced. My hope has transferred from Jesus to my body. Jesus Christ is the only well that does not run dry. My hope placed on Him is fulfilling. He is the only thing that can bring me success and guard me from failure or protect me when I fail. He is the provider of all things and the only true thing that brings contentment.  He was made for that kind of pressure. He is the only one that can deliver.

I sat in that room with the nutritionist with hope. I still feel overwhelmed. Transferring my hope from an idol to God isn’t a ten step easy process. I actually have no idea how this transfer happens. What I do know is that it is a work of the Holy Spirit and it can be done. It has been done in my life before. It’s just so crazy; it’s like I was blind sided. This idol has been in my life for a LONG time. I operate life with these lenses. I can’t imagine how freeing it will be when my hope is in the right place.

So, praise God that He exposed sin!  His grace is so vast because He hates that we worship the things He created over Him. Tonight as I read out of Gospel in Life I wanted to share Tim Keller’s thoughts on idolatry.  May you be encouraged and my God expose to you some of your idolatry for the sake of His name and the forward movement of the Gospel through your life.

-When Paul sums up the fall of humanity into sin, he does so by describing it in terms of idolatry. He says we refused to give God glory (i.e., to make him the most important thing) and instead chose certain parts of creation to glorify in his stead [Romans1:23-25]

-Instead of worshiping and serving God and having been made to rule over all created things in God’s name we worship and serve created things, and therefore, the created things rule over us.

-The prophets said that an idol is empty, nothing, powerless. An idol is nothing but what we ourselves have made, the work of our own hands. Thus an idol is something we make in our image. It is only, in a sense, worshiping ourselves, or a reflection of our own sensibility.

-An idol is a spiritually dangerous power that saps you of all power. Paradoxically, idols are powerless things that are all about getting power. The more you seek power through them, however, the more they drain you of strength. They bring about terrible spiritual blindness of heart and mind and the idolater is self deluded through a web of lies.

-Idols bring about slavery. Idols poison the heart into complete dependence on them. They completely capture our hearts. They become our lord.  The person who seeks the idol is controlled by that idol.

-Every sin is rooted in the inordinate desire for something, which comes because we are trusting in an idol rather than in Christ for our righteousness or salvation.

-We create idols because we want to control our lives though we know that we owe God everything.

-In efforts to control we take created things and set our hearts on them and build our lives around them.

-In Galatians Paul urges us to not go back to idolatry.

-If anything but Christ is your source of salvation, you are falling into idolatry. You are setting up something besides God as your ultimate hope, and it will enslave you.

-1John indicates that the only way to walk in holiness, love and truth is to keep free from idols.

How to Identify your idols:

-There is something besides Jesus Christ that we feel we must have to be happy.

-There is something that is more important to our heart than God.

-There is something that is enslaving our heart through inordinate desires.

-The key to change (and even to self-understanding) is therefore to identify the idols of he heart.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Idolatry

  1. Liz Pace

    So…..this is me. And it sounds like our journal entries were the same the other day. I even wrote how I knew it was an issue with my heart but I have no idea how to see that it has anything to do wih God. Wow. I was told to pray through a couple of specific things but I may be contacting you soon for more info. Love you girl. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  2. Theresa Marble

    Wow – resonates with me. We are studying very similar things in our Bible study. I pray that I will be open for the Lord to reveal more to me.

  3. so good! love you ash! thanks for your honesty – so encouraging!

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