Since August I’ve been slowly working my way through an online study that coordinates with the book “The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace. It’s a pretty good read…definitely has food for thought. Some of her thoughts feel a little extreme to me, but I’m trying to just take my time and consider what she says against what the bible says and what the Holy Spirit is revealing to me.
I’m not going to try and catch you guys up on everything that I’ve read so far…I don’t think you want nine chapters worth of notes, but I did want to pass along one of the discussions to you. Just consider it your “food for thought” today… 😉
The topic was over our hearts as Christians, and the role that idols/lusts play. This topic is definitely not a new one, especially to someone raised in church such as myself, but I’ve got to admit…there are times when I have trouble pinpointing exactly what the idols are in my own life. Whether it’s because I can justify them away, or have become so accustomed to them…I don’t know. But Peace offered up a really interesting “test,” if you will, to help readers identify the idols in their lives.
In her book, Peace says “An idol can be anything. It may even be a good thing. But if we want it so badly that we sin if we don’t get it or sin to attain it, then we are worshipping an idol rather than Christ.” She follows up by saying that idols are “what you have your heart set on.”
Like say…a pair of beautiful fall boots. (Sound familiar anyone?)
Now let’s get something straight, just as Peace does in the book. Boots are not bad. Wanting to go fishing is not bad. Desires are not necessarily bad. The problem is that if I have my heart set on boots, they have potential to become an idol.
And the proof is in the pudding. When I can’t find the *just right* pair of boots, how do I react? If I shrug and go on about my business without spending time worrying or brooding on it, then all is well. But if I become frustrated, or bitter because the calves on all the boots are so big (again, if you are feeling confused by my seeming obession with boots, check out this post), or jealous over everyone else’s fall boots…the ding-ding-ding…those boots are an idol in my life!
In case I’m not saying it clearly enough, let’s go back to Peace. “As long as things are going well in the areas you have your heart set on (physical appearance, being in control, money, approval, a happy marriage, etc.) you will feel all right. When they do not turn out as you may desire, frustration and perhaps anxiety begin to build even to the point of desperation. You become willing to do anything, including sin, to have your idol.”
To me, it ties in with another study some of the ladies at my church are doing called “Lies Women Believe,” and what I’m coming to understand through both studies is that anything that I’m not willing to hold with open/loose hands is probably an idol in my life. If I’m clinging tight to it, not willing to give it up or give it to God…if I become defensive when others question me on it…then it’s an idol in my life.
I mean…wow. According to this discussion and these definitions, I’ve got a lot of idols to deal with in my life. And I know that my God is a jealous God…He wants to be my hearts desire and the object of my affection and worship. But, praise Jesus, He is also loving and long-suffering…and He won’t give up on me as I continue to seek Him.
He won’t give up on you either.
And that my friend, is the best news I’ve heard all day.
KEEP CALM & TEST TO SEE WHAT THE IDOLS ARE IN YOUR LIFE!