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7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 4

My wife and I enjoyed the gift and blessing of fellowship tonight. Instead of going out to the bar or to a restaurant to watch the Orange Bowl (go Hokies!) we invested our night indoors, having a delicious black bean and vegetable soup, watching some entertaining The Office, and using the later hours to do some cleaning around our home.

As part of my wife’s habits while she cleans or folds the laundry, she likes to listen to Pastor Mark Driscoll (from Mars Hill Church, Seattle) through the podcasts available on iTunes. I myself used to spend much time listening and watching Driscoll and Mars Hill sermons online; however, I can’t say that my passion for sermon-listening has remained the same as in previous years.

Tonight, after defeating a boss (a very tough enemy in a video game), I went to our bed room and joined my wife in listening to Mark Driscoll preach. His topic was “Suffering to Serve” preaching out of 1 Peter 4 and putting special emphasis on the issue of idolatry, not just in the world outside the church, but also among Christians. As times before, I had no way out and was forced to admit to myself, once again, that I am an idolater.

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Before letting the reader come to the conclusion that video games are my idol, I must stop and say that even though video games are very entertaining and fun, I have come to control the past time instead of allowing the past time to control me. Video games, God willing, are not a major issue in my walk with God.

But it is always hard to hear about idolatry because after conviction–yes God, I am a sinner and I have idols–it is always the tough challenge of trying to understand where is the line between idolatry and “fun,” or a past-time.

Pastor Driscoll focused on this issue by challenging the Christian to ask ourselves: what is it that you run to when you are hurt? broken? What is it that you desire the most when you fall and are fragile? What do you desire when you need something but you don’t desire God?

I can’t honestly say that I have all my major idols figured out. I am sure that for the rest of my life God will continue to shine light and reveal more and more areas of my soul and mind where I am not putting him first. But there are some idols that I do allow to take worship away from God and the Lord Jesus: my emotions, entertainment (from tv shows to football games), and, incredibly, my own health.

God has been working on the last one above for a while. I have to admit, to God and whoever my audience may be, that in times on anxiety and personal turmoil, a main thing I turn to and focus all my attention to is my health and how out-of-shape I am or feel to be. It is my prayer that God continues to attack and one days fully destroys this idol in my life, whenever He feels the right time comes, and that I may be set free from it completely.

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I don’t really have a certain purpose for this post. Listening to Pastor Mark Driscoll is hard because God speaks through him and conviction is almost always certain to happen. At the same time I am thankful because even though I am surrounded by things the Enemy wants to use for my destruction, I still know God sits next to me (always) ready to lend a helping hand and ready to hug me when I may need His comfort and hope the most.

It may seem ironic, but it is good to be reminded of my sin. It is healthy to be reminded of my struggles and of my shortcomings. When the Holy Spirit shines light unto my evil, it is a reminder that I really needed Jesus to die on that cross for me and be resurrected on the third day. It is a constant reminding that God is not done with me and that I need Him now more than ever.

May you be blessed. If I may ask anything, I ask for your prayers: please pray that God may grant me peace of mind and spirit and patience in the weeks and months to come. Above all, pray that the love of God may continue to grow and abound more and more in my life. Amen.

Be Blessed.

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