So many of us want to be the point, the banner of attention, and be praised for the good things we are doing and accomplishing. Approval is not a bad thing, but when we thirst and live for human acceptance, when we long to be noticed and make the world revolve around us, we make ourselves and people our gods. We desire for people to worship our good deeds, and rely on ourselves to “be better.” It’s an exhausting cycle that leads to comparison, jealousy, lust, and fear.
Idol n – 1. A representation or symbol of an object of worship; broadly: a false god. 2. A likeness of something, obsolete: pretender, impostor. 3. A form or appearance visible but without substance. 4. An object of extreme devotion. 5. A false conception http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idol
We make ourselves our idols and it may feel good for a while. Get lots of likes on your social media pages, “feel love” from comments and praises and start to believe that you got where you’re at because of your own ability. Doesn’t it get tiring putting up a front like you’re tough and can handle anything when all it takes is a family member’s words to break you down, or for someone to say something rude to you? When you make yourself the object of attention you start to allow mere humans to fill your head with helium and you’ll only have substance when you’re worshiped. This is not how you were designed.
Genesis 1:27 “So God made mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Psalm 105:1-3 “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.”
Isaiah 43:6-7 “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Ephesians 2:20 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Colossians 1:15-16;20 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him…and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
Isaiah 44:6-7; 9; 17; 20 “This is what the LORD says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me… All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame…He prays to it and says, ‘Save me! You are my god!’… Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, ‘Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?’”
John Piper said it best in his book “Don’t waste Your Life” when he said, “ For most people, to be loved is to be made much of…Love is doing what is best for someone. But making self the object of our highest affections is not best for us. It is, in fact, a lethal distraction. We were made to savor God – and savoring him, to be supremely satisfied, and thus spread in all the world the worth of his presence. Not to show people the all-satisfying God is not to love them. To make them feel good about themselves when they were made to feel good about seeing God is like taking someone to the Alps and locking them in a room full of mirrors” (Piper 33).
Friends, anything we hold higher than God is an idol. From yourself, a person, even good things like food, money, and comfort become what you worship and takes place of the God who has created you and made you to glorify and praise His name for all He has done and made. He alone knows and sees everything, He is everywhere at once, He is all powerful, and just as freely as He gives, He takes away. From my minimal understanding, we can’t perform any of those acts. We can’t create something out of nothing (Genesis 1:1), and we can’t save ourselves eternally. By saving ourselves I mean by our own abilities just being a “good person.” The Word of God says that “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does right and never sins,” Ecclesiastes 7:20.
But do you realize how beautiful God is in our stench of sin? Because sin has separated us from God, He made a way for us to come back to a loving relationship with Him through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
1 Timothy 1:15-16 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom o am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display him immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”
And what is eternal life? It is “that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” John 17:3. Joy in having a loving relationship with our Daddy God, the creator of our souls and the only one who can truly satisfy it. “Because you love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you” Psalm 63:3-5.
I was not created for me, nor were you created for you, but for God. When you realize that man cannot take away your joy because man never gave it to you, you are no longer enslaved to man’s disapproval because you’re approved by God. When you come into a relationship with God, confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart that God rose Jesus from the grave, you are saved. While you were a sinner, not because of anything you did right, Christ died for you. It is loosing your life for the sake of the Gospel (Good News of Jesus Christ) that you find your life and can really live. Fully.
In this New Year, take delight that you are not the point. That life is more than you, and what people think of you, but what God thinks of you because of Christ, sharing the Gospel of Christ coming down to save sinners. Let go of your idols friends. All the people and things that take your heart away from God, and once you let go, how freeing your life will become.