You know those moments when a Pastor’s sermon hits you between the eyes, out of nowhere, and the more you try to hide the tears welling up in your eyes, the more obvious those tears become? Not tears of sadness, but tears of “Oh wow, that’s so true!” My butt could’ve melded to the seat for the settle-in-and-let-this-hit-impact his message had on me.
The pastor, in our new hometown, recently preached on the God of our hearts and idolatry, from 1 Kings 18, where Elijah confronts the prophets of Baal on their idol worship.
According to the dictionary, an idol is: “any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion.”
It is something the Lord has been talking to me about in increasing measure. Even good things, when taken out of priority and made greatest in my heart, can become idols. And while the Lord is good and kind and love itself, He is also a jealous and just God. There is a reason why one of the ten commandments is, “you shall have no other gods before Me”. It’s not because God wants to ruin ‘fun’, it’s because God wants to purify our hearts to the point where nothing else rules or pleases the way He does.
It. Is. Always. For. Our. Good.
Anyway, back to the text, back to the moment.
In 1 Kings 18, Elijah confronts Ahab and the 450 prophets by asking them a very pointed question, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions?”
This nation had, at one time, served the one true God. They had prayed, and He had answered. But over time, they had lost their fear of the Lord (reverence), and began to look for something else to tickle them; something else to satisfy. The Lord was no longer enough. And it caused a limp in their step. Elijah was essentially telling them, “just decide!”
Any time we look for something else, other than Jesus, to satisfy,
we will limp through life.
I always try to ensure I am walking what I am writing, as whatever I write here on the blog is usually something that my heart is also working through. This message hit me hard because it confirmed a dream I recently had where (in reader’s digest form) I was worshipping at an altar, and the idols in front of me came crashing to the ground, one by one.
In our day and age, an idol is rarely the golden calf that we erect on our coffee table and bow before three times a day. It could be our concern for the future that leads to distrust in the Lord. It could be our family and its ranking priority over the Lord, or it could be our careers, food, identity, or an addiction. For me, I can try and get my peace out of things that can never really promise lasting comfort. Some of them can even be good or neutral things in and of themselves, but if they consume our hearts more than Jesus, the sweetness of it can sour.
In the text, Elijah confronts the prophets, and they try to call on their god of Baal to answer them with fire, but he doesn’t come. And they continue to limp around the altar they built; because, as our new Pastor stated, “false gods (idols) only promise what God can fully provide”. Immediately following this scene before the altar, Elijah steps up to prove that God hears when we call. And God shows up in a mighty way.
You see, God contests for our hearts. He longs to be the God of our heart, end of story. And it is never to poo-poo something we enjoy; it is actually to increase and fulfill our joy to a level where it can only come from Him.
For me, the Sunday message and my dream hit hard. But God is so kind to show me His way to life!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to limp through life.
How long will you keep limping?
On a giggle note, here’s a good kind of limping ;)