Friday, August 1, 2008

Idols and lies... and the one, true God

“Just watched… Just another confirmation from God… Just amazing grace… Just you ask? Sometimes I think of how God looks at me now… just as if I’d never sinned… sometimes I think of how God answers prayer… just at the right time… yes it’s our JUST GOD at work again as He always is…”

This was the response I got from a dear friend of mine after she had watched part of a video I linked to her.

How true is that? Our God is so just, so wonderful, so mighty, so loving, so powerful, so gentle with us. Through my friend and some difficult things she is working on in her own life with God, He spoke into my life in a powerful way.

He showed me the ways He has been guiding me up to this point, this summer. He placed me in a bible study through Living Proof Ministries, organized by Beth Moore. It is a study based on identifying your idols… functional idols in your life that give you something that only God can fill. They function for a time, but never fully satisfy, and so leave you hungry… for more. But God is the only one who can fill us to the full.

Isaiah 46 talks about how our man made idols weigh us down and become burdens to us. We end up carrying the idols that we have made. I wrote the following in my journal after reading the first part of Isaiah 46.

“I didn’t get it at first, (when I read the passage) but we are the weary beasts. I am. Anything that I am holding in my life above You, it is something I physically have to hold up above me to block out the view of You. And holding up these things, carrying them is so hard and weighs me down and makes me even more exhausted.”

Isaiah 46:3-4 says, “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by Me from birth, Who have been carried from the womb: Even to your old age I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you."

I don’t need to carry those burdens any longer. I can lay them down. Instead of carrying my idols, and keeping them as gods in my life, God is carrying me. Maybe this is what God is referring to when He said in Matthew 11:28-30.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Once I let go of the things I think I need, I can take up Jesus, and find that in my everything, He is carrying me. He has been carrying me. He will carry me. I need to confess the things that I have been carrying and lay them at the foot of the cross.

I have a choice, and so do you…

Like me, you may be thinking, “But they are such big things in my life. How do I lay them down?”

I know I will try to pick them up again and again. They are comfortable and familiar. Some of the things are good things, like singing and playing piano for worship team, writing here and in my journal, my husband… oh, so many more… too many to name. But when they are taken to extremes, and in the deepest part of my heart I become proud of them or possessive of them, then they veer off course and I end up carrying them, holding them above my head in aching arms, but afraid to let them down and see the Son shining in my eyes, and reveal me for who I truly am.

Yet who I truly am really isn’t bad, because I am a daughter of the King. How bad is that? I can have everything given to me, I have only to ask. So why is it so hard to lay the things down that I cling to so much?

Maybe it is because many times we can’t see that we are holding onto a lie. That it is deceptive, wrong and painful to us. I can’t see that I am feeding on ashes at the foot of an idol that cannot deliver me and can only burden me more and beat me into the ground.

God so longs to give me good spiritual food and drink. Healthy and wholesome. He wants me to come and lay my burdens down, and take up His because only then will I find rest for my soul.
This bible study has been confirming all along that is what He wants to have me do. It has been His amazing grace to me that has opened my eyes and let me see. He has confirmed gifts in me, with the warning to not grow prideful and twist something that is good, and depend on it so much that it becomes an idol.

God sees the things in my past, but forgives me all the same, just as if they had never been. He answers prayers that have been prayed over me for the past 3+ years… not when I wanted, not when the people praying for me wanted, but slowly, gradually in His own time… at the perfect time. He is always working whether I see it or not.

And it’s when I don’t see it that I tend to make idols, hoping they will give me the quick answer I want, fill the need I want. Numb the pain, get rid of the hurt, keep more painful things from happening. But that isn’t how God works, and I have had to learn patience. Hard when you are in the midst of a trial.

So many of these things several main idols that I can see, have been a part of me for so long, they look so huge and intimidating, and I wonder if I can really lay them down. Am I even willing to?

Tonight I made a choice to lay them down and ask God to help me root them out of my life. I made a verbal, out loud choice of my will to lay down my idols. My heart isn’t fully there yet, because I know it is going to be a painful process. But what isn’t? Cleansing and purifying our lives can be painful, and can take time. I have been cleansing my life this year through counseling, and it has been very painful… but oh, so rewarding.

I have grown so much closer to God. Even through my mistakes He has continues to call to me. Our just God has been endlessly, unchangeably wanting me to come to Him. When I realize that my way isn’t working, He wants me to fall to my knees, exhausted from all my posturing, manipulating, scheming, and finally lay down all that I have been carrying in hopes that it would fill me.

When I have done that before, sometimes I have expected punishment for leaving him and turning to something else. But each time He has gently taken those things from me and covered me, poured His life and love and comfort into my soul. I have just had to let go and let Him minister to my soul.


“[We have to] let go of the life we have planned in order to accept the Life we have waiting for us.”

Our God is our life. Our part is to surrender everything, even our dreams to Him and allow Him to fill every space we have left after letting things go. He will then fill us with His Spirit and HIS dreams for us.

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