James 1:18 affirms, “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.” You are God’s most valuable creation, His prized possession. Why, then, do we, as Christians, wrestle with idolatry? Our occupational callings, past time hobbies, or anything we give importance to more than Jesus Christ is an idol. In the account of the rich man in Luke 18:23, upon being told to sell everything he had and follow Jesus, we are told, “he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.” When you have an idol and are unwilling to relinquish it, it’s telling your Creator that you know better. “ But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God” (Romans 9:20)? What is something in your life you are willing to surrender to Him? The image of a girl holding a teddy bear unyieldingly with Christ asking her to give it up comes to mind. Nothing else should take the place of God in our lives, “…for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14).
Being grateful and recognizing that everything we have is from Him can help us keep idolatry at bay. A heart of thanksgiving acknowledges that what we have is not our own. “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Timothy 6:6-7).
King Solomon denied himself no pleasure, yet he proclaimed, “‘Meaningless! Meaningless!,’ says the Teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless’” (Ecclesiastes 12:8)! He admonishes, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). The wisest man in the Bible was not satisfied with earthly gain but chose to fear the LORD. This ought to help us fix our eyes on heaven, the home of the soul! Christians are admonished not to love the world nor the things of the world (1 John 2:15-17) because they are passing away, “but whoever does the will of God shall abide forever.” Where are you storing up your treasure?
The relationship you have with Jesus Christ transcends anything and everything you have in this life—with the promise of eternal life when this life ceases. “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7). We are to “set our mind things above, not on things of the earth” (Colossians 3:2).
As our beloved brother Dee Bowman expressed, “If you miss heaven, you’ve just missed all there is.” Is your idol more important than heaven? Jesus commands us to deny ourselves and take up our cross (Matthew 16:24).
May we deny ourselves and take up our cross as we walk daily with the LORD.