Anyone who trusts God knows this is a foolish comparison. But it illustrates how willing we are to make time for the heroes of the world and not the God who made them. It’s worth taking an extra minute to imagine it. Be careful here, answering properly instead of honestly is a certain temptation. So let’s be frank about it, and if you’re not a Bill Gates fan, plug in some other hero to test yourself. We know that Bill is not really going to call, but Jesus, the one who made Bill, calls every day, and most of us just let it ring.
Here is my real question: Are we serving idols by accident? Has our thinking been shifted enough to become an accidental idolater? Bill Gates is not bad guy and it would be an incredible experience for anyone to hear his business wisdom, firsthand. So anyone could rationalize getting up early for that experience but ignore the better experience in hearing God’s wisdom. That kind of rationalization produces an “accidental idol”. Typically, accidental idols are birthed by God as blessings meant to point us toward God’s goodness. But inch by inch, they creep past His presence until they’ve become the road instead of the landscape, in our worldview. Our focus changes our path, behind our backs.
These are the most dangerous type of idols. In my case it has been a lifelong concern over money – fear of losing it, fear of not having enough, etc. It’s probably the reason I picked Bill Gates for the illustration. This stronghold was allowed to grow because I put my focus on the amount of money I had. God had blessed us with great material possession – a good thing! But I kept pushing to make more because I didn’t trust Him to sustain my life. Money became my blessing-gone-idol. We must be extra vigilant to recognize this process because it will not be obvious.
We may think we’re living like King Josiah, when in fact were more like King Solomon (late in life he fell prey to idolatry). If anything has more control over your decisions than God’s voice, this would be true for you as well. Since these are not so obvious to us, the challenge is for us to have the courage to ask Him to reveal it and refine us.
If you pray, God will begin to expose these hidden idols to you and bring a season of refinement. But don’t be afraid. Rest assured that God will not only remove your idols, but replace them with Himself, and His lasting blessings.
Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 44:15-17 (In regard to God’s gift of wood for man to use)
15 It is man’s fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
“Save me; you are my god.”
Take courage and pray this prayer today.
“God please search my heart and remove anything that keeps my attention away from you. Strip away relationships and material things that hinder me being a hollow vessel for your Spirit. And add to my life people who will lead me toward you and things that will remind me of your presence – praise you Holy Father and let it be done in Jesus name.”
We’ll encourage one another as God works us into a greater discipleship with a more peaceful and powerful anointing.
These idols are sneaky and are a danger for anyone who believes that Christ is the King. Until my own financial meltdown 18 months ago, I never realized this problem. But since then, we’ve been steeped in idolatry detox and its working! My wife and I have come to a new low in that we are finally flat broke but a new high in that we are finally and flatly broken. We actually have the rare gift of putting our faith into action because it’s all we have. And that comes with a sense of real purpose and distinct direction.
Additionally after a very painful few days (past weekend) He has moved powerfully in our marriage to reconnect some of our communication short circuits. Now that we can see clearly, we have resolved to work together in faith but pray with our feet moving. Praise God that all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. So if you prayed the prayer above, take courage and laser your focus on God. Be in constant communion with Him as he works through your life. Take time with Him every day. Let’s make the time for Him as if it were Bill Gates on the phone. Then remember that HE IS GOD, and Bill is just Bill.
Please alert me if I can offer any encouragement to you!