Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Four Idol-revealing Questions

  1. To what do you look to protect you when you are personally attacked? 
  2. To what do you look to comfort you when you are devastated?
  3. To what do you look to rescue you when you are overwhelmed? 
  4. To what do you look to embolden you when you are afraid?
The Gospel washes away guilt and shame and replaces it with joy, peace, satisfaction, security, and divinely imbued worth. Through Christ we are made whole, no matter how real or imagined our failures may be. In him alone we can and should find our greatest joy, peace, satisfaction in life, security, and self-worth.

When we find these Christian privileges threatened, we tend to search for them in all the wrong places (James 4:1-3). Certainly God grants us many legitimate things in our lives that contribute to our satisfaction and joy in life (the love of family, a sense of purpose, success, financial stability, etc.). However, none of those lesser things can ever be relied upon as ultimate providers of joy, peace, etc. When we are thrown into the deep end, our actions and attitudes reveal where our faith really lies. The simple fact is that no matter how wonderful all these lesser things may be, all may fail us. We are guaranteed none of them at any time in our lives. Even the most precious of them can fall apart. For instance, children who once loved us can someday curse us to our face. Spouses can betray us. Jobs can come and go. There is only one constant that can and should guarantee our joy, peace, etc. when either everything is going well or all else fails. That is Jesus Christ and the relationship with the Father that he has guaranteed us through his work upon the cross.

Unfortunately for Christians, we can sometimes unknowingly (or even knowingly) place faith in lesser securities that steal our faith away from Christ. In a sense, they can become idols. We seldom recognize this unless our faith is tested. When thrown into the deep end, the ensuing struggle to stay afloat can reveal whether our faith is cast toward life-preservers that cannot ultimately provide what we want or need most.

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