Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
A good part of my time lately has been spent reviewing my sin and sin patterns. It’s been a hard and tedious part of our group in re:generation and, frankly, I think we are all getting tired of it. But at the same time, it has been somewhat eye opening for me. Part of our evaluation of our ourselves has been to identify idols that might be in our lives. For our purposes, we define an idol as anything that we desire above God Himself. Some of you may be familiar with a book written by Kyle Idleman called Gods at War. It’s all about things in we hold in our hearts that we pursue more than God Himself.
To be honest with you, when I started this, I really didn’t think much about me having idols. But the more and more I got into it, and thought about it, I was somewhat surprised about how much I have let idols creep into my life without really knowing it. In my thinking, it reminds me of Exodus 20:2-3 that says, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” Now, while in this case, God was probably talking about man made gods and goddesses, the application can still be made. If God brought us out of the slavery of sin and into salvation through Christ, why would we want to put any god before our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?
In this blog, I’d like to go over a little of my journey in area (it’s still not finished) that may shed some light on things. I have two areas or idols that I would like to talk about. They are, money and love. As far as money, I have never really had much and I never really thought I had much of a problem in that area. Now I need to tell you, I have always given to the Lord’s work both in time and money. Even now, I use my money to help my church and people I know who are having specific struggles. So one would think I would be doing OK in this area. Not so. Recently, since moving out here to the prairie, as I call it, I have been able to accrue more money than I have ever had. While I still use it for others, I find that in my heart, it has become kind of a security blanket (oh, Linus, where are you when we need you). I find my mind thinking, that for the first time in my life, I have some security because I have money in the bank. Having money in the bank isn’t the issue in itself, and it can certainly be taken out and used for the Lord’s good. But when my heart begins to think that I now have security in my life because I now have some money, I now have an idol that has taken first place over the Lord.
One more thing, love. Now that sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? But let me share a little of what I have learned about myself recently. Our re:gen group was in the throws of completing an inventory of sins. Believe me this was a lot of work, but I also knew that I had plenty of sins that I committed in the past, and some that I still commit, that I could, and did list. Then in one of our weekly lessons, a question was asked. The question was “in all my valued outcome for my responses to my sins, did any of the valued outcomes reflect what the Lord would want?” That question plagued me for weeks! I went back and looked over all my inventories to see. I found that not one of them reflected anything that the Lord would desire. But instead, every one of my desired outcomes reflected something that I desired!! I wanted people to love me, I wanted to do something in the ministry that I was not asked to do, I wanted to be recognized or honored!! In other words, I wanted my desired outcome to be about me. Not that I didn’t already know I was full of the sin of selfishness and pride, I had become my own idol!! I can’t tell you how much this broke my heart. It’s something I should have been aware of, but was not until the specific question was asked of me. I’m glad God showed this to me, but I am also ashamed of what I have let myself become become in regards to selfishness, especially over the last couple of years. I am praying to God to change my heart. I know I can’t do that on my own.
So what’s the point? Well, one thing I can think of is that we need to keep a close watch over our heart. Our hearts are so easily deceived. Another thing is when we become aware of our sin of idolatry in some area, we need to confess it and lay it before the Lord. God doesn’t give us gifts (like money, in my case) to tempt us and cause us to sin. He does it to see how we will deal with it and to cause our character to grow.
My work in this area of confessing my sins is not finished by any means. But I can tell you this. As I truly bring these areas that God shows me to Him, and confess them to other people I trust who can pray with me, God brings much peace and joy to my life. Hiding sin just does not help any of us. God already knows about it. Re:generation has been a good and helpful process for me to go through. By His grace, I will continue to progress in areas where He will have all of my heart and not just pieces of it. He can and will, do the same for you if your heart is humble and honest before Him. May His grace be abundantly with us!!