Walking past temples the other day, I asked myself what idols do I struggle with?
And the response made me tremble.
For you see, all too often I believe my greatest idol is myself.
See an idol is anything we put above or in the place of God. And more than I’d care to admit, I realized how easily it is for me to elevate my needs, my wants, my feelings, my comfort, my time etc. above the Lord. My, my my!
And I think if we are all honest, this can on many days be said of us all.
When kids are small and they grab a toy and say mine, we laugh. Yet, that natural inborn tendency remains for life. Causing us to value our own feelings, needs, and desires above others.
Which is precisely why Paul tells us in Philippians 2 to, think of others, look out for the interest of others, more than ourselves. Because this doesn’t come naturally, it is something we all must work at.
Another way we idolize ourselves is when we have a tendency to look to ourselves rather than God. To depend upon ourselves, rather than Him. To try to figure things out, rather than trust the Lord. All I’m ashamed to say I am guilty of.
And when we do this, we have placed ourselves in the position worthy only of the Most High.
In my quiet time the other day I read, “For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.” Psalm 86:10
He alone is God. We are not.
“Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3
He alone made us and all in this world, we did nothing.
Yet, far to often we look to ourselves to fix the situation, depend on ourselves or others when anxious. Rather than turning to the Lord, the one and only who has the power to do above and beyond all we could ask or think!
This past Sunday my husband preached on the grain of wheat, and how until it dies, it can not bear fruit.
The same is true of ourselves. Until we learn to die to ourselves, our wants, our desire, our selfish tendencies, we will not bear much fruit. The fruit is a result of death.
Jesus put it this way, “And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
To follow Christ, to bear fruit, to be His disciple. It means denying self, carrying our cross daily, so that we can follow Him.
Jesus made it clear, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Matthew 6:24
We can not serve ourselves and God. It won’t work, we must choose to serve the Lord, and discipline ourselves to put Him on the throne in our lives.
Paul said he beat his body into submission. Why? Because he knew how weak his flesh was. He knew that though his heart was set on serving the Lord, that his flesh wanted to serve himself.
This same battle takes place within us.
So, how do we overcome?
Simply put, we don’t. He does.
When we reckon ourselves dead to self and alive to Christ.
Yet, it is much more complicated than just that. Because it involves daily dying to what we want, and submitting ourselves to what the Lord wants instead. It means looking to Him, rather than ourselves, depending on Him for everything, seeking Him first, and treasuring Christ.
How we live reflects who we serve. What then does your life reflect, you or Christ?
May we seek to reflect Christ to this dark and dying world. For Jesus is the only, true hope.