Unexpected Idols

The Man (or Woman) In The Mirror

Samantha washed her hands and watched as Tracey touched up her makeup in the mirror of the school restroom. All the girls were complimenting her looks. Even Chase, one of the baseball boys, told her she looked nice today. “Hey, I’ve been looking for you. I was hoping to get your help with something.” She dried her hands while Tracey finished applying more lip gloss. 

“Oh yeah, what with?” Tracey rubbed and smacked her lips together, spreading out the gloss. 

“We need help with the youth car wash fundraiser this Saturday. Can you come?” Tracey scrunched up her nose. “Ugh. I hate washing cars. It’s so sweaty and dirty. Besides, my makeup might get messed up.”

Samantha laughed. “Well, just don’t wear any, silly. We’ll all be getting wet and dirty. We’re there to work, not win a beauty contest.”

“Yeah, I don’t think so.” Tracey said as she packed up her makeup to leave. Samantha was astounded. What was going on with her friend? 

When Samantha got home, she told her mom about the conversation she’d had with Tracey. “She used to care more about serving God than how she looks.”

“Hmm. Sounds like Tracey is making an idol out of her appearance.” Mom said. 

“An idol? I thought an idol was like a little statue that people bowed down to.” said Samantha.

“Oh no.” said Mom. “An idol can be anything that we elevate over God. In Bible times, idols were an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship, like a carved statue. The Bible warns mankind to stay away from idols and to worship God, and Him only. This warning is so important that it is included in the Ten Commandments as number one and number two! Today, our idols might look different. They could be money, our job, our social status, our hobbies, or even our image. That’s why the Bible says in Romans ‘They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–’. You really need to pray for Tracey, and maybe try to talk to her about how she has changed.”

“I’ll try. I really care about Tracey and I don’t want to lose her as a friend.” Samantha said. 

“How about we pray for her right now?” 

Follow Up Verse

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– 2 Timothy 3:2-4

OPERATION: ACTIVATE 

Do you have unexpected idols in your life? Ask God to reveal them to you and ask for forgiveness. Then talk to a trusted adult or accountability partner.

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

Starting Over

Did you ever stop doing something for a while and then, when you wanted to start again, you felt silly or afraid of what people would think?

For example, let’s say that you were in the choir. You really liked it and you went to all the practices and even sang the occasional solo. But then something happened. You got a cold. So you couldn’t sing. So you missed practice. Then your kid got a cold and you had to nurse them. So you missed practice. Then you had to go out of town for something. So you missed practice. Then you had a really rough week and your nap turned into you sleeping right through the Sunday night service. So you missed practice. Then, you had a family thing. So you missed practice. 

You saw them up there and longed to be a part of the group but things just weren’t working out. It wasn’t that you didn’t desire to go to practice, other things just got in the way. Then you started feeling afraid of what they’d say when you came back. 

              “Where has she been?”

              “Why hasn’t she been at practice?”

Then you start to tell yourself that maybe they don’t want you back. Someone else is in your seat, so maybe they don’t need you. You want to be there, but your fear of what others are thinking is influencing your negative feelings and behaviors. 

You are being ruled by fear. 

And, most likely, unfounded fear. 

What they are really thinking:

       “Of course we want you back, you are a part of the choir.” 

     “I (we) understand that sometimes life just gets in our way. We have all experienced times when things didn’t go according to plan.” 

     “The important thing is that you came back. You didn’t give up. You love to sing, God has gifted you to sing, and you didn’t let Satan keep you away.”

This is exactly how Jesus responds when we turn back to Him. 

He came from heaven to live among us so that he could understand our trials and temptations. He understands that sometimes life just gets in our way. He has experienced trials and temptations himself so he owe that sometimes things don’t go according to plans. The important thing is that you came back. You didn’t give up. You didn’t let Satan keep you away. 

I’d like to say thank you to all the people over the years who have spoken words of encouragement when you could have spoken words of reprimand. Proverbs 18:21 says:

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”(New International Version)

“What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.” (Good News Translation)

So get back out there. Start over doing what God has called you to do. Start over living in obedience to God. Don’t let fear rule your life. Live in the freedom of God. 

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” Acts 3:19 NIV

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  1 John 4:18 NIV

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

Wake Up Call

I’ve spent the last month “procrastinating” while doing research. It’s easy to get lost in research and forget what the research is for. I won’t call it wasting time, because I was investigating and researching things for my new book, however, I also wasn’t heading God’s voice.

Just before I started a new day in my Bible study a video popped up on social media that had an interesting title, so I clicked on it to watch. She made a comment that immediately struck me in reference to her soon-to-be ex-husband. “It occurred to me that I could hang up on him.” In the span of ten years, she’d been clinging to his every word.

Conviction hit. Is God calling me to something? Or, just calling to talk? Have I “hung up” on him? What about you? Did you even realize you’d done it? I didn’t. I had stopped taking His calls and I was no longer hanging on His every word. Disobedience leads to distance between you and God. God is always there, but, if you’re disobedient, your heart is not close to Him.

You can love God but not be “in love” with Him. Just like you can believe in God but not “believe Him”. I hope that my wake up call inspires you to take a closer look at your relationship and make the changes necessary to stay close to Jesus.

Intentional

Good Morning!

I know it’s been a while, but there was a good reason. I’ve created a 40-day devotional titled Intentional – Developing A Deeper Relationship With God. I have been working on it for several months and it is now available on Amazon in print (recommended) or ebook.

All profits from the sale of this devotional go straight back into funding future mission projects and to purchasing the devotionals to give. I have intentionally priced the devotional for only $6 so that you can buy one for yourself and buy one to give to a friend or family member.

The devotional is intended to help you draw closer to God through a series of questions, applications, and reflections. It calls you to be intentional in your worship, your service, your witness, your study, and your communication with God and others.

Thank you all so much for your continued support.

Intentional – Developing A Deeper Relationship With God