Shannon’s message on the idols of the heart fits perfectly with the season I find myself in as I am consciously searching for and crushing my idols through repentance, confession, fellowship, and the word. It’s a painful task, but it is necessary in order for this branch to bear fruit.
I just finished reading the book “Gospel Treason” by Brad Bigney, and it has kicked by butt. Chapter after chapter my chest hurt from realizing the weight that I have carried for so long, idols that I have subconsciously carved out since childhood, idols that I thought had died, but have resurrected themselves. The one idol that continues to rise to the top is the idol of “me.”
I am a very selfish person. Most of my life has been about me, preserving me, protecting me, and achieving me. I am very selfish about my time, my space, and my possessions. This played out just recently with a staff member here at Southern Hills.
Our last night at the conference in Indiana, a small group of us went to a local restaurant that served killer steaks. When we were done with the main course, our waitress brought out this tray of indulgence. It was a very weak moment as we all gave into dessert lust. I ordered the creme brûlée, which proved to be a mouth watering experience. Every bite was methodical and calculated to relish each savory moment.
Then Nicole, our Lead Creative Arts Pastor, had the audacity to ask for a bite. How could she? It would be another year before I would get this experience again, and it was mine, all mine. I knew what I ought to do, but I decided to act like a 5 year old and said something like, “ohh, I knew it! Why didn’t you order this? Fine. Here!!!” Nicole replied in a gentle loving voice, “No, its ok.” She had me. My heart was exposed and immediately the shame pressed in. From that moment on, every bite was miserable.
We are bent toward our sin nature and it is the work of Christ that has redeemed us. His grace, not ours. His strength, not ours. His love, not ours. Bigney defines idolatry as, “anything or anyone that captures our hearts, minds, and affections more than God.” Custard? Really, Keith? No, the truth is it was more than custard. Selfishness, that is my idol. “Me” has caught my affection more than God, and I am willing to sin if I think I am going to lose it.
James 1:25 (NLT) says, “Those who look carefully into [His teaching’s] that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you have heard, then God will bless you.” And what does the word teach me to do to fight selfishness? “Walk in love just as Christ has loved you and gave himself up for us…” Ephesians 5:2 (NIV). I am to GIVE. Period.
Join me in praying this week Psalms 139:23. “Search me and know my heart, see if there is anything offensive in me and lead me in the way of everlasting.”