Article # seven: Idols (Part 2)
I must go back to that conversation with a family friend. I was expressing that the central Person in heaven is much less than central to most in North American evangelicalism, to which she surprisingly replied, “They don’t want Him! They don’t want Him!” Since, I have added one word to hers to express the chief indictment and quandary of the body of Christ….. enough. “They don’t want Him (enough)!”
At first the thought of christians, Christ-ians, not wanting Christ above all else was less than believable, a notion one chokes on. Can’t be, no way, get real. Sadly, the evidence is abundant.
The cause of most problems is this reality: “They don’t want Him (enough)!”
That’s why christians are sick, marriages less than enviable, little music in the heart. That’s why many will weep at the judgment seat. That’s why the world is going to hell.
“They” are most. Yet most would be ticked by such a suggestion because most are entrenched in denial. Because it is good to love Christ supremely, and I most certainly am a good christian, obviously I love Christ supremely. And, Since only the backslidden stray from their First Love, and no way am I backslidden, I have not strayed.
Let’s take a hard look at most.
U n k n o w n : All the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him….. Now make for us a king to judge us like all the nations. (1Sam. 8:4,5)
All the elders. And then there’s the Galatians…..
P a u l : I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you to a different gospel. (Gal. 1:6)
And the christians in Ephesus…..
J E S U S : You have left your first love. (Rev. 2:4)
And the church of Sardis…..
J E S U S : You are dead. (Rev. 3:1)
I could go on but this is getting depressing. Sufficient to say, most cannot be relied upon, not always and perhaps not usually. I have seen most do the stupidest things.
And me? Confession time. I had once strayed from Jesus Christ. I was one of “They,” one of most. And I didn’t know it. I entered fully into denial. Religious fervor kept the obvious from being obvious. There was never a time in my life I did not want Christ but there were years I did not want Him enough.
Enough to pursue Him. Enough to seat Him upon the throne of my life. Enough to submit to His Holy Spirit.
My idol was christians. Not so much the ones beside me in the pew or the fellow in the pulpit, though they were a part of it. But the renown. The globetrotters. The faith giants. The conference celebs. (Bless them all!) Christiandom replaced Christ. Looking back, how foolish and immature.
You are a small part of most. Most influence you, insist you belong and live accordingly. And that’s okay if most is okay. But it ain’t if it ain’t. (Let it be understood, okay is Christ-centeredness.)
Now let’s look at what an idol is not. An idol is not an addiction, even a bad one. It is not a weakness. It is not a habit. It is not a failure.
An idol is a replacement. “All the elders of Israel” replaced God with a king. That king was their idol.
G O D : They have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me. (1Sam. 8:7)
Rejected. Replaced. Exchanged.
The Galatians rejected, replaced, exchanged Christ for another. En masse they gave themselves over to the Mosaic Law and its officers.
Consider: How did the dark ages get to be the dark ages? Why are we always in need of a revival? How did liberalism get such a hold of our nations?
The answer is obvious: Idols. All around you are idols fastened to believers. How many various idols in the average evangelical assembly? Lots.
An idol can be an offspring, a spouse, a business, television, Pastor Whoever, christiandom, me, treasures on earth, and many etceteras.
Idols are nasty critters. They begin their career as servants and end up masters, thoroughly enjoying the worship of their idolaters. Each can boast of havoc and pain, guilt and confusion, lukewarmness and boredom.
Who could argue after reading the Bible, after inspecting church history, the majority is often (usually?) wrong? A woman of courage might ask, “Well, what about my majority (my people)?”
C h a l l e n g e : “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith,” that your faith in Christ hasn’t drifted, your fervency dulled.
P r a y e r : Jesus, the Lord of me and the God of me, You said, “Ask,” so I’m asking. Bless reader and writer. Draw us ever closer to Your heart. Let fruit abound. Anoint this word. (And hopefully the reader says, “Amen!”)