Recently, some close friends asked Eric and I (along with some others) to fast with them in regards to a significant desire they are pursuing the Lord about. The idea being that we would choose something in our lives to give up (fast from) for a period of time--something that would be a sacrifice to give up and anytime we craved the particular thing we would be reminded to instead pray for our friends' request. My husband chose sweets and I chose sweets and reading blogs. I honestly have not fasted very often and doing so raised my awareness about a lot of things in my life. It got me thinking about how there are so many things in my life that I rely on to 'fill me up'. Spending time with my family and friends, sweets, reading books, reading blogs, running, drinking coffee. Even 'spiritual activity' can be a filler. Or how about our 'positions' we hold, either in the workplace or at church? Are we striving for accolades or recognition from others in order to be 'filled'? It got me wondering about how many times I rely on drinking coffee to keep me going throughout the day. Ouch--if God asked me to give up coffee could I do it? Could I give it up, in faith knowing that His Holy Spirit is the ultimate energizer? Or--how often do I rely on my husband, my children or my friends to meet needs in me that ultimately only God can meet? Of course, God gave us relationships (and many other things for that matter) to be blessings in our lives but when these things become more to us than God himself they become idols.
When Jesus was asked in the New Testament which commandment was most important He replied, "...Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (NIV, Mark 12:30). Really, you can trace every single sin back to this one commandment. For every sin we commit has to do with something in our lives that we are putting before our Lord. As I have been praying over this scripture, asking the Lord to help me truly do this, the Lord is opening my eyes to areas where my heart is divided. Areas I have not fully surrendered to Him. One area is my children. I am so concerned about doing everything 'right' as a parent that I don't always just rely on the Holy Spirit's leading in this area. Sometimes I am too reliant on parenting resources instead of on Him and Him alone. Period. The same with homeschooling. I get so caught up in whether I am doing it 'well enough' instead of trusting in Him to guide me and lead me--instead of having faith in the fact that He has called me to this task and He can accomplish it through me. Him and Him alone. Period. My idol in my life is 'wanting to be successful' at these things and then I become an overachiever, falling into 'works' to accomplish it. The Lord says that 'We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us' Phil 4:13. The kicker is filtering everything we do 'through Christ' --that means if we are doing it through Christ then we will be given the strength to accomplish it. If God hasn't called us to the thing then we can be assured he won't give us the strength to accomplish it. These are just a few of the idols He has been showing me. I know there is so much more...I am barely scratching the surface here...how about my comforts of electricity, a nicely furnished home, air conditioning, coffee, eating out....UUGH!
Oh, Lord, I just ask one thing--please, please, please don't make me give up coffee! :)
As we surrender these areas in faith, it is an open invitation to experience Him more fully and intimately. So, to the one or two people who might read this :) , what 'idols' has He been opening your eyes to lately?