I spent this morning listening to a sermon by Chris Lazo from Reality Santa Barbara, where he brought up the subject of idols which we make for ourselves. I recognize my own situation in it too easily. A simple definition of an idol is that thing, feeling, person we go to for satisfaction instead of God; in other words we try to let it do God´s work. «Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again» (John 4:13). We forget that the only one who can do the work of God is God.
When I go though a rough day, it´s easier for me to sit down with a cheesy movie, or a TV series, than it is to spend time with my God and Saviour. I might say that I know only God can restore me after such a day, but my actions says otherwise. Why is that? Why can´t we just stop seeking after those things that always will make us thirst again? I know Jesus´ words well; «whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spiring of water welling up to eternal life.» (John 4:14) And yet, I fall short and fail.
«Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, eading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called «today», that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our confidence firm to the end. As it is said, «Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.» (…) Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, shaper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.» (Heb.3:12-15 + 4:11-16).
It is challenging to give up sinful habits and turn to God with all of our hearts. And even though the Bible tells us that God will never let us be tempted beyond our ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that we may be able to endure it (1.Cor.10:13), it is overwhelmingly difficult at times to follow that route of escape. To help me in this challenge, God has taught me to love and protect my conscience. It is the bright shining sign over the exit door. It is what opens my eyes to the danger I´m in. If I ignore it, I harden my heart, and the consequences will be a dying light in the life important exit sign. «He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.» (Prov.29:1). I don´t want to try to hide things from God, when I know so well that He sees it all. I want to grow, be sanctified, be more and more like my Lord and God as each day passes. So I´m learning to praise God every time my conscience is raising its voice to protect me. It helps me find the strength I need to fight my flesh – in Him, not in a useless surrogate. God´s word will sanctify us as we spend time in it (John 17:17); such a powerful tool.
I am eternally grateful for our Great Hight Priest, Jesus Christ, who is the one guiding us safely.
«And I will lead the blind
in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
and I do not forsake them.» (Jer.42:16).
I am in His hands. I am in Him who is true. He provides all that I need. He will never forsake me!
«And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.» (1.John 5:20-21)