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Friday, June 22, 2007

Idols of the Heart

"… these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity…”

"Therefore speak to them and tell them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Any man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will be brought to give him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols,

I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols." Ezekiel 14: 3-5

In the passage above, Ezekiel is not talking about the idols where people bowed down and worshiped. Here he is telling the Israelites that there are idols in their heart. There are “things” they have given power to.

What is idolatry of the heart? How does it begin? First there is a desire. I currently have my house up for sale, so I desire a bigger house for my family. A person could desire a higher position, or the best education for their children, or desire to have their child become a great athlete. These are all desires of our heart, and these desires are not evil. God wants us to have and pursue the desires of our heart.

Overtime our open hand of presenting to Christ our desires can become a closed fist of idolatry. Then as a Christian you become someone who says, “Lord send me where you want, lead me wherever…but please don’t touch this.” Many times we can find ourselves doing anything to make our desires come to fruition. If one desires a higher position, then they become a workaholic. If the best schools is your desire as a parent, then you do whatever possible to make that desire come true. Or like me, if you desire a bigger house, you may find yourself placing parameters on how God should bless you. We don’t do this consciously, but I bet we can think of a time we each have fallen into this trap.

Suddenly when we have an idol in our life, we are not turning our hearts to an all knowing, all loving God of the universe who blesses us as he sees fit. Instead we are praying to a deity we want to fetch our desires for us.

I desire for my sons to grow up in a safe environment, I want them to be successful in whatever they do, I want them to marry a pure, strong Christian woman who has saved herself just for them, and I desire many grandchildren. But if I am not holding these desires of my heart with an open hand up towards the Lord, then they become an idol in my closed fist. Who am I to say how their life should go, the Lord may use suffering in one of my kids lives to bring Glory to Him. I hope not, but I have to keep an open hand to his will.

I believe many Christians today don’t move forward in their walk because of idols in their life. They attend church, volunteer during functions, and sing all the hymns out loud, but somewhere deep within they are saying, “Lord I praise your name and I am yours, but please don’t touch this area.” Just don’t. Want to know a biggie in this area? Finances! But that is just one of millions. In the end the Lord turns you over to your idols and says “have at it.” To me there is nothing worse then God turning me over to my sin; I would be begging for punishment, just don’t walk away.

So do you have any idols in your life? No one on the outside can see them; he is ready and willing to meet you right where you are if you ask God to reveal any idols. I am not free from this sin; it is a daily battle of putting Christ first. But my prayer is that I may never get confused and think that anything is mine (not even my children). Father I stand with my hand open to your will, if there is any area I keep off limits help me to turn them over to you.

You can visit me at my personal blog: Laurel Wreath

*This message was based on notes I took from a sermon from The Village.

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Blogger MugwumpMom said...

Excellent post!! For the longest time I worshipped at the idol of Godly Christian I know of what you speak! Paul Tripp (author of Instruments in the Redeemers Hands) defines a good, godly desire that becomes a demand becomes an idol.

June 21, 2007 at 9:28 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

"But my prayer is that I may never get confused and think that anything is mine (not even my children). Father I stand with my hand open to your will, if there is any area I keep off limits help me to turn them over to you."

Father, let that be my prayer, too.

Thank you, Laurel.

June 21, 2007 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Wonderful post Laurel, you bless me.

June 22, 2007 at 4:28 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

Wow, very powerful post, Laurel! I'm sure if we were all honest we could all name something.

June 22, 2007 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

Oh, Laurel, I think they are several areas in my life that I just keep taking back from His reign...I really, really need to let go.
Thank you for the reminder that all parts of my life belong to Him and not just a 'chosen' few...

Blessings to you and yours, my friend.

June 22, 2007 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

Thanks Laurel..I enjoyed this post. What a blessing and what incredible timeing the Lord has (as always!). Thank you. Meg

June 22, 2007 at 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Wow Laurel.. Another fantastic post. This sentance struck me....I believe many Christians today don’t move forward in their walk because of idols in their life...

Oh, I have found often I have idols that need surrendering. It can be a minuite-by-minute thing for me. Wonderful truths here. Thank you!

June 23, 2007 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

'just don't touch this'...

how many times have I prayed that one over my kids? I've prayed many times, "Lord, I don't care if we never have money, etc. etc...just please leave my kids out of my trials...' And isn't that so wrong?

This is great Laurel and really gave me a lot to reflect on!


June 23, 2007 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger Terri @ In His Hands said...

Oooh, when you mentioned our prayers for our children I wanted to stop reading! It's painful isn't it? I need to be more open in everything I pray for---thanks for sharing your thoughts, Laurel.

June 24, 2007 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Pearls of Wisdom said...

Thanks Laurel ! Great post.

In his endless love,

Angel ():)

June 25, 2007 at 10:23 PM  

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