Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Been building any idols lately?


I've been thinking a lot recently about idolatry. Especially what idolatry looks like for me.  It's not comfortable territory to spend a lot of time in.

Reading Deuteronomy this year has got me thinking.  Deuternomy 6 and 7 is especially challenging. There's a lot about idols and living in a way that makes the Israelite people separate, different from the idol worshipping nations around them.  He wants them to take drastic actions 'Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire' (Deut 7: 5).  'Do not covet the silver and gold on the idols and do not take it for yourselves or you will be ensnared by it' (Deut 7:25).

Why all the dramatics?  The next verse explains.  The people have been chosen out of all the world to be his 'treasured possession' (Deut 7:6).

We are told in the New Testament that Christians are 'a chosen people, a holy nation, God's special possession' (1 Peter 2:9).  He wants us to look different - we're here to show people what God is like and why he is trustworthy.

So it's time to get rid of the idols.  Those things that we put more trust in than God. The things that take our focus away and distract us from God.  That weaken our belief that God really CAN look after us, especially with suffering, uncertain futures, grief, disappointments.

I think our idol worship actually stops us as Christians looking very different to much of the world around us.  It means that we can have the most amazing programs, fancy outreach events, jazzy music, slick brochures, but if we as individuals continue to put the things that are loved by the world around us up in an important place, then we just blend into the crowd.

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