I have had a very startling, very transforming, very humbling revelation.
I have been practicing idolatry.
Yep, that’s right, idolatry. It shocked me, too.
At first, I didn’t realize this seemingly innocent practice was idolatry. Rather, I thought it was service to the Lord. Go back and read that again, I’ll wait . . . Satan is a very clever deceiver. He does a very lovely job of putting sin in a pretty package and duping us into believing it’s actually serving GOD, rather than serving the enemy of our souls. This particular issue in my life was extremely cleverly disguised by Satan because it’s not an issue I usually struggle with. So he put it in a really nice bow and tied it up labeled as service to others.
I’ll bet you can relate. Have you ever found yourself participating in a ministry that you had absolutely no desire in your heart to do? Yet you volunteered because there was an empty slot and SOMEBODY had to do it, so it might as well be you! Trust me, been there, done that! And I learned my lesson. I no longer volunteer for ministries or activities I am not specifically led to by the Lord. So, I thought I’d beaten that particular sin.
HA! Oh, the dangers of pride!! (That’s another topic for another blog entry on another day!)
So, are you wondering what my horrible sin that turned into idolatry was? Here goes . . . People-pleasing. I’ll pause for a moment for those of you that know me well to finish rolling with laughter . . .
As I said earlier in this post, this is not an area in which I usually struggle. Most often, I find myself on the complete opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to people-pleasing. (I guess that would be called “people-disappointing”??) But I found myself working so hard to meet expectations I thought others had of me that I was consumed with it. Let me be clear and restate part of that last sentence. They were expectations that I thought others had placed on me. I never actually asked them. I just assumed. Assumptions are almost always wrong, at least in my experience.
Reason with me a moment, will you? If I am consumed with meeting assumed expectations of others, what am I NOT consumed with? Or, to put it another way, WHO am I not consumed with?
That’s right, students! The answer is GOD.
Friends, that’s idol worship. I have put all these little “gods” before my One True God.
You see, He’s the only One worthy of praise and honor. Anything placed before Him in our hearts and minds is an idol. I had found myself going to bed and waking up concerned that I had failed someone for a variety of reasons. I should have been focused on whether I had pleased the Lord that day, not man. I used to find myself going to bed and waking up praying. What a miserable difference. I was completely and totally miserable.
Thank God, He got my attention. I praise the Lord for His discipline. It means He loves me. (Hebrews 12:6) He gently showed me where my area of sin was and drew me back to Him. The first step I took was to get alone with the Lord and away from distractions. I have spent more time in the last two weeks studying and praying than I have for a long time. Every spare moment has been spent pouring over God’s Word and praying that He wash me with its cleansing water (Ephesians 5:26). I truly want to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). I want to dwell on the things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).
I don’t know how long this time alone with the Lord will last. But I know it must last until the Lord’s time is up. I must order my days in a way that pleases and honors the Lord. The time is short. Seasons come and go. Right now, my season is to rest in the Lord in whatever way He shows me that must happen. American Christians spend way too much time doing anything BUT resting in the Lord. But that’s another topic for another day as well. 🙂
You see, worship can be defined in one simple way — obedience. To give a right estimation to others of who God is, I MUST start first by obeying His will in my life. Others must see a true reflection of Him in my willful, joyful, consistent obedience. I have been inconsistent during my period of the sin of idolatry and I am so very glad that the Lord has forgiven me and cast my sin as far as the east is from the west.
Thank you for reading my confession. I pray it blesses you. Let my experience resonate in your heart the next time you are tempted to exchange the Lord for idols of any type. Press on, beloved!