John Calvin said the human heart is an idol factory. Which means our hearts are consistently creating self-salvation strategies’; constantly creating competitors that take the role that Jesus wants to play in our lives. We often act from a mindset; if I can just do something to get away from life then I will be happy, have purpose, feel relieved, be joyful and obtain affirmation. The question is, what do we turn to for this fulfillment?
Idols are subtle. You could say they are like a thief in the night, we often do not see them coming but we realize later that they have been there after they have stolen all of our joy. We usually get in over our heads before we even realize we have bought into the deception. Idols always over promise and under deliver. Jesus always delivers and never lets us down. He is faithful yesterday, today and forever. An important part of trusting Jesus is that we must turn away from the idols our hearts have manufactured. We must identify our idols so we can turn from them and run to the ultimate relief offered in Jesus.
Here are some diagnostic tools to help us identify these idols in our lives.
1. What do I worry about most?
2. What, if I failed or lost it, would cause me to feel like I did not even want to live?
3. What do I run to in order to comfort myself when things go bad or get difficult?
4. What makes me feel the most self-worth? Of what am I the proudest? For what do I want to be known?
5. What do I often lead with in conversation?
6. Early on, what do I want to make sure people know about me?’
It isn’t pretty. Chances are you just uncovered a whole mess of issues some that you were aware of and some that are just now surfacing. It can be overwhelming, but before you let it get too far, give these burdens and guilt to the Lord. Trade it for the forgiveness that is so rightfully yours thanks to Christ. Identify the idols, turn away from them, give the struggles, fears and failures to Christ and receive the joy that comes freely. Repeat.
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