Friday, April 22, 2005

Clinging to Worthless Idols

I love the Bible's consistency. Wherever you find a precept, you will find other scripture to corroborate it and to strengthen your understanding of what God is saying.

The transience of this world and the things in it has been on my mind, I suspect because I have been making the mistake of focusing on other things rather than God. When this happens to me--when the cares of this life or a fascination with 'things' crowd my mind--I feel tired, irritable, anxious, and vaguely restless. All of those are red flags that I have not been drinking from the wellsping of Life.

1 John 2:15-17
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

When does peace come? I know both from experience and from the Word. (See related post: Be Anxious for Nothing.)

Phil 4:6-8
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

There's the prescription right there. I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit is quick to say, "Hey, you're getting a little off course." A ship that veers just a few degrees off course can wind up many miles away from its intended destination. I can tell you right now that I don't want to take the helm from the Lord.

The Lord warns us many times in the Bible not to become a friend of the world and not to covet what the pagans (those who don't know Christ and worship false gods) do:

James 4:4
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

Matt 6:31-33
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

My head and heart know that these words are true. The problem comes when my world starts flying past me, like I am a car picking up speed down a steep incline; I don't make the time for the reflection and meditation on the Lord that I need, and things start falling apart. I start falling apart. It's nothing that anyone else would notice, but I notice. My peace isn't there, and I feel like a piqued bird standing by the shore with ruffled feathers, darting about looking for food with a sharp eye and jerky movements.

Loving the world has everything to do with this, because where do our eyes go if they are not on Jesus? "The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." Our eyes fall on ourselves and on whatever it is we want, or whatever the devil has held before our eyes and convinced us we want. Clothes, beauty, children, approval...anything can be an idol if we focus on it over the Lord or instead of the Lord. The temptation to love the world is often a subtle one; we must guard our hearts and fix our eyes on Jesus.

1 John 5:20-21
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

The world is passing away, but the one who does the will of God abides forever.

NOTE: As has often happened with us, Rev-Ed has posted something similar that goes well with my post. Check it out here.

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