I just started the study No Other Gods by Kelly Minter with a group of ladies this week. So for the next few Fridays "What I am Learning" will come from this study.
The central theme of this study is this verse from 2 Kings 17: "They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods."(v.33) Verse 41 says, "Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols."
Just in this first week I have had to ask myself some hard questions about idols in my life and the answers have not always been pretty ones. I can tell this is going to be a difficult study. It is not easy to take a hard look into my life and come face to face with my faults and how I shortchange God. In other words, I am cheating God by putting other people or other things above Him, even if they are good things.
Ken Sande gives this definition of an idol: "Most people think of an idol as a statue of wood, stone, or metal worshiped by pagan people....In Biblical terms, it is something other than God that we set our heart on.....An idol can also be referred to as a "false god" or a "functional god".
Functional gods? How many things in my life are my functional gods? Do I honor God in the things that I listen to on the radio, watch on TV, with the thoughts in my mind and the feelings in my heart? What about things that are good? Do I put my family or my church activities above God? Do I put more importance on completing my Bible Study than I put on seeking God?
Another definition of an idol is this one by Richard Keyes: "An idol is something within creation that is inflated to function as a substitute for God. All sorts of things are potential idols, depending only on our attitudes and actions toward them...Idolatry may not involve explicit denials of God's existence or character. It may well come in the form of an overattachment to something that is, in itself, perfectly good...An idol can be a physical object, a property, a person, an activity, a role, an institution, a hope, an image, an idea, a pleasure, a hero --- anything that can substitute for God."
I am ashamed to say that I have many idols in my life. Even if some of them are good. So as I begin this deep introspection I want to clean out any idols in my life. I want to let go of those things that are keeping me from wholly serving God. I don't want to be consumed by serving my false idols. I want to be consumed by my desire for my Lord.
Life is Good,