Thursday, April 30, 2009

idolatry

I've been thinking about idolatry and how that plays out in the lives even of Christians. John Calvin wrote about the propensity of all humans to hold on to idols in the heart (from Ezekiel).

This can be anything other than God. For example I wonder how easily the Republican Party (or Democratic Party) can become an idol. Or an ideology of what it ought to be. My country America, as great as it is, can surely become an idol, either rivaling or being too closely linked somehow in one's mind, to the kingdom of God.

How about one's ideal of what life ought to be? Now I tread softly and hopefully carefully here. Because we are dust and frail, and God knows that. And God says certain things are not good, for example it's not good for the man (or woman) to be alone. The answer there was the bond of marriage. But many who would like to be married, are not. And in the case of those who are married, they can so fawn over each other (fawing itself is good, by the way- one example) that they can end up making their marriage partner and marriage an idol. Remember, anything at all other than God, can become an idol.

The paradox is that as we learn to really put God first then the gifts of God can become more precious to us than ever. But when we put those gifts first, they eventually dry up, wither and die.

Much more to say on this. What would you like to add here?

10 comments:

Mama K said...

This is an especially timely thought for me... we are going to have to sell some of our land, which makes me very sad. I need to be able to let go of it if that is what God asks of us. Otherwise, if I want what I want more than I want what God wants, then that want is becoming an idol for me... and I sure do not want to go there! Thank you for this reminder. Husband is talking to the realtors this week.

Marcus Goodyear said...

Yup yup. Amen amen.

So how do we learn to examine our lives enough to recognize what we idolize?

nAncY said...

interesting thoughts here, ted.

making too much of something, it is easy for me to go there.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Mama K.,

Thanks for the encouraging words. I need this post and every post, whatever truth is in them!

May God guide you folks in that and give you his peace.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Marcus,
Thanks. Good question. I'm not sure there's any easy answers to it. I do think God will show us as his children, but there needs to be an openness on our part to receive his correction.

Always a matter too of seeking to really put God first. Because if we don't, something else, other "gods" will take God's place.

Just sharing my little thought on it for now, knowing you know this.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Me too! So easy to fall into it. Only grace keeps us growing toward being the kind of worshipers Jesus said the Father longs for (John 4).

Messenger said...

Further, The Most High warns against Mankind's production of any likeness of any animate being that has life or breath. Images of living beings, formed by human minds and hands, can be utilized as demonic entry portals. Media would include statues, paintings, drawings, photos, movies, videos, computer images, magazines, books, and coloring books which depict living beings like people, angels, animals, fish, birds, reptiles, spiritual entities - even Jesus. Truly, these graven images have been allowed to mediate the earthly realm. Consult what is written.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Messenger,
Thanks.

I respect your right to differ and express your view.But your comment makes no sense in the Biblical and Chistian orthodox worldview.

It is a misreading of the second (or first, if I remember right, some put the first two together) commandment of the Ten Words or Commandments. To paint or sculpt something was prohibited if it was done to worship the image itself.

God himself did something which humans could never depict or do. Jesus came as a human, in whose face we see the face of God. Jesus was worshiped while he was here. This is at the heart of the Christian belief of the Incarnation. God becoming flesh, or fully human. And then dying on the cross for our sins. Resurrected "raised the third day") and someday coming back to bring in the kingdom of God in its fullness.

nannykim said...

Man, this post is just like a sermon I listened to by Tim Keller this week!! You should listen to it if you have time. But it made me realize that everything can be an idol including my spouse. Anything that we say gives our lives meaning (other than God) can become an idol. Tim Keller was very good on this --found here:
This is a fantastic sermon by Keller:
http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/The-Grand-Demythologizer-The-Gospel-and-Idolatry

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nannykim,
Boy, everytime I turn around I'm running into Tim Keller. I'll have to give it a listen when I get time. There are two of his books I most definitely want to read. Thanks.