DAY 189- BIG PICTURE IN A YEAR - THE WILDERNESS
No one can serve two masters.
Matthew 6: 24
Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1: 9; Matthew 6: 24, 25
Over the last few days we’ve been unmasking the evils of idolatry – and we continue to do so today. Idolatry was the first stronghold of sin that God set about delivering His people from once they’d left Egypt – and for good reason.
Jesus told us plainly, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” In this particular saying, Jesus was walking about the idol of Mammon, or money, but the principle can apply to anything that has been allowed to attain idol-like status in our lives. Choosing an idol means rejecting God.
Here’s how idolatry works: we find something that we think can give us what we want – a man who we think will make us happy if he became our husband, a woman who we think will stroke our ego if she likes us, a job that we think will boost our significance, a money-making scheme that we think will swell our coffers and thus, permit us to buy anything we want. It starts in a very subtle way, as perhaps, a legitimate desire. But if we don’t keep it under submission, it can soon become a dangerous obsession that sets us up for disappointment and that leads us further and further away from God.
What should you do if you find that there is an idol in your life? It’s a sign that you have ceased worshipping God. Thomas Chalmers said, “the heart must have something to cling to..therefore the superior affection for God is necessary to displace worldly affection.” Yes, return at once to worship of the true and living God. This is the only way to “keep yourselves from idols” in a world ‘filled with the siren songs of gifts masquerading as gods’ (Jessica Udall)
At first it will be difficult to shift your mind from your idol to your God – it will take some effort and persistence.
I’m going to give the final word on this topic to C.S Lewis. “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Father God, I want the ‘greater’ that You have for me. Thank You – and take me on. Help me to unload all my idols here and now.
For the family
Over the next few days, watch parts of this brilliant video together about the Wilderness region in Israel where the people wandered.