Our Toughest Challenge… and how to defeat it.
Devotional thought of the day:
3 “Worship no god but me. 4 “Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. 5 Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the LORD your God and I tolerate no rivals. Exodus 20:3-5 (TEV)
What does it mean to have a god? or, what is God? Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him from the [whole] heart; as I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. (1)
426 Once you were pessimistic, hesitant and apathetic. Now you are completely transformed: you feel courageous, optimistic and self-confident, because you have made up your mind, at last, to rely on God alone.(2)
If there is one thing we as human beings excel at, it is creating idols. There are idols carved to resemble every living thing, with perhaps the exception of cockroaches. Not sure anyone has made an idol of them. We make idols of our dreams, either our dreams for our own lives, or for our children or even grandchildren. We can make an idol out of health, or beauty or the right career path.
As Martin Luther describes above – it is whatever we look to for good and whatever we turn to we we are distressed, it is where we go when life is shaky and we just don’t have a clue, no way to persevere. It’s what can keep us away from church on Sunday – football, our kids sports leagues, our patrying on Saturday nights, even our jobs.
Life has a way of stripping those idols from us, for they let us down. They cannot sustain us, because and idol is simply something we’ve created, not something that created us.
Yet on we go… creating idols to help us deal wih the fact that our old idols fail us, that our lives don’t change, that getting that car, or that home, or that new computer, really didn’t change anything. No wonder philosophers and mystics appreciate spartan simplicity. The less you have, perhaps the less you have to make an idol? Doubt it, because we can even make an idol out of the most impoverished situation, the most unpleasant selffulfilling matyrdom.
And even as we create more and more idols, even as we chase after this or that, we miss freedom.
The freedom that comes from knowing Jesus, the God whom we didn’t have to create, because through Him we are created. The God who died on the cross for us, nailed our idolatry there as well… We are free from it, free to interact with the God who is real, the God who has come to us.
The God who wil care for us.
(1) The Large Catechism of Martin Luther
(2) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1905-1907). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.