(From the archives)
My sweet friend and I were talking today about that Psalm 78 is a powerful passage of Scripture that teaches us the severity and consequences of idolatry – and it shows the pattern that people naturally fall into – how I pray we will learn from Israel’s example and be faithful to God by the power of His Spirit! Please check it out when you can and read through it prayerfully – asking God to show you your own sin.
We are ALL idolators. We all tend to easily put many things in our hearts above Christ. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it. This is HUGE sin and it greatly grieves the heart of God.
So we talked about what idolatry is, how to identify it, what some very common idols are in our culture today, what the consequences of idolatry are and how to recognize when we might be involved in idolatry.
Now – how to we combat this awful sin of ours and worship Jesus as God alone?
The things I am going to list are for believers – how we draw near to our Lord. This list is not how to “be saved” or how to get to heaven. The only way to heaven is through faith in Christ. He gives us the gift of His death in exchange for us living with Him forever. He pays for our sins so that we don’t have to – because He loves us THAT much. And when we accept His payment and gift, and we give our lives to Him – we live with Him daily as our Savior and we commit to Him being our Lord – the One in charge of our lives. But we can’t be good enough to earn heaven. We can’t follow enough rules to impress God. Only Jesus’ sinless life and death impressed God. So Jesus lets us take His life for ourselves so we can be in a relationship with Him! It is about relationship and spiritual oneness and intimacy with Christ here and in heaven forever.
If you want to talk about how to have a relationship with Christ, please leave a comment and I will be happy to show you the way to a relationship with Christ and how to know that you can live with Jesus in heaven forever after you die instead of paying the price for your own wrongdoing by being separated from God in hell after you die (according to the Bible these are the two options).
PSALM 78 HAS SOME PRESCRIPTIONS FOR US TO CONSIDER, AND I ADDED A FEW OTHERS, TOO:
- Remember His deeds of long ago.
- Meditate on His works – things He has done in Scripture, things He has done in history and in your family and in your life.
- Meditate on His Word. BE IN HIS WORD like you are an addict! Hunger for his Word. Crave His truth, His wisdom, His perspective, His presence, His power.
- Desire to know Him more and more.
- Determine to put Him FAR, FAR above EVERYTHING else in life and don’t let anything get close to being the priority that He is! Jesus says that compared to your love for Him – your love for your family should look like “hate.” Of course, you are not actually to hate them. The two greatest commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your might, with all your soul and with all your strength and to love others as you love yourself. But your love for Christ should be SO MUCH STRONGER than your love for anyone or anything else that no one has to wonder where your priorities are! You MUST love Jesus MUCH more than your husband, your children, your life, your health, your career, your money, your friendships, your reputation, your things, your country, your phone… Jesus FIRST.
- Examine your deepest fears (they are usually the opposite of your idols) – and hash through each one of them against the truth of God’s Word. Realize that even if your WORST FEARS were to happen – that God is big enough, loving enough, powerful enough and sovereign enough to guide you through them and that if He were to allow that awful thing to happen, He would use it for your good and His glory. And He would be with you, You’d have the fruit of His Spirit and His presence and you would be ok – you would even be able to have His joy and peace even through the pain. You have to come to grips with the idea that whatever He allows to happen – He will use it to make you more like Christ and to bring honor and praise to His Name. And as you kill your will and seek His will – you die to what you want and live for Him – you begin to want His will – no matter what it is!
- Carve out time to spend with Him daily. Make Him a HUGE priority in your life!
- Focus on His holiness and character – be in awe of Who He is.
- Seek His FACE not His hand (don’t look to Him just as some kind of genie who is just there to give us what we want).
- Praise God all throughout the day in your heart. Always have a praise/worship song “playing” in your heart or be meditating on scripture.
- Teach your children about God – Who He is, what He has done, His power – talk about Him all throughout the day.
- We are SO disrespectful to God when we try to control Him and order Him around like some kind of servant. We MUST have proper reverence and respect for our God!
- Obey His commands. When you read something He commands you to do in scripture – take Him seriously and obey Him – EVEN when it’s hard, even when it’s unpopular, even when it’s counter-cultural, even when it’s weird.
- Constantly ask God to check your motives and purify your motives and your heart.
- Don’t trust your heart, your conscience or feelings! Our hearts are wicked and deceitful above all things! Only God is good!
- Keep an eye on the scope of your own sinfulness and constantly compare that to the glory and holiness of God. It keeps us humble to do this! God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble!
- Do not forget His deeds! Do not forget Him! Do not forget His Word!
- Put your full trust and weight on God, NOT your own understanding.
- Acknowledge that God’s ways are infinitely higher than yours and that His wisdom is light years above your wisdom. You do not know best. He does.
- Do not rebel against His Word or be stubborn or prideful!
- Do not cherish sin in your heart – immediately repent of it and turn back to God as soon as you are aware of sin so that your conscience is tender towards God and is not seared.
- Do not make demands of God or willfully test God!
- Do not speak against God, “Can He really provide?”
- Believe in God and trust in His deliverance (for us, that is Jesus primarily!)
- In prosperity – we tend to forget God and trust ourselves. We MUST keep in mind that all we have is from God and He can take it away any moment – we have not earned it for ourselves. And we must be godly stewards of all that He has blessed us with!
- Remember His power – the day He redeemed you from the oppressor (sin and death!).
- Remember that He has given all that we have and He is able to take anything away. If our nation does not repent, He can take away our economy, our electricity, our gasoline supply, our food, our government, our infrastructure… The only thing keeping us from being enslaved by another nation, or living in 3rd world poverty or being a worn-torn pile of rubble is the grace and mercy of our God. We are UTTERLY and TOTALLY dependent on God. He has given us all that we have. We can do nothing on our own!
Without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
Idolatry is EVIL and WICKED. It is a sin worthy of death in the eyes of our holy God. We are ALL guilty of this sin. We must pray and ask Him to help purge us of our sin, wash it away by the precious blood of Christ and make us clean and holy in His sight by the power of Jesus at work in us.
THEN – THE REWARDS
The fruit of worshipping Christ properly and obeying Him and getting rid of all sin is the filling of His Spirit when we are believers in Christ and we ask for Him to fill us! THEN we get to experience His supernatural gifts and the riches of heaven on a daily basis! Then we have His peace, His joy, His patience, His love, His wisdom, His self-control, His goodness, His faithfulness, His gentleness, His kindness…
Once you have experienced the filling of God’s Spirit in your life – YOU DON’T EVER WANT TO LOSE IT! It is the most amazing “high” EVER. And it doesn’t disappoint! God’s Spirit brings contentment and blessing.
When you have His Spirit – you know that you can face anything as long as He is with you. And His perfect love truly drives out all fear.
When you live with Christ as LORD – like I have described above – there are miracles every day. It’s normal to have God intervene and provide. It’s normal to see Him answer prayers in ways that are above your ability to ask or imagine. Life is an amazing adventure with God holding your hand and you never know what surprises He has around the bend.
When Christ is my LORD – everything else falls into place. I don’t have to MAKE anything happen. I don’t have any worries in the world. I am totally satisfied in Jesus and all my trust and hope is in Him and I am content and joyful on this journey no matter where the road takes me. As long as I have Him, I have all I need.