In church we churchy people can represent ourselves well, when need be. We know the lingo. We know how to strut ourselves before others. Picture it. Sunday morning arrives we chauffeur ourselves up to the church in a prestigious looking car. Step onto the pavement wearing slim Calvin Klein Jeans and black leather boots, while sporting a scent of Tommy Girl. We think we’ve arrived. No one ever looks at us and wonders what is wrong with our lives. Of course not. Because as I said, we represent well.
The question is do we really? What are we really relying upon? Are we really God followers or are we followers of other gods? What are the secret idols we as Christians have at home? Behind closed doors? What are those things we cling tighter to than anything else? What brings us contentment? These days things could be named such as social media, the approval or the attention of others with what they say and think of us, our jobs, where we live or what we drive, which goes along with possessions, and money. Or do we find our approval from God is enough? What things do we jump into the bed at night with on our minds or in our hearts? What are we reaching for the most in our lives, during good times and bad? I’ll let you name those items. That fact is we all have them. The question is are we aware of them?
Written again and again throughout the Old Testament are scenarios where God declared to His people: ‘I am the Lord your God who rescued you out of Egypt.’ The people responded with belief in Him and sang His praise but it wasn’t too long before they forsook him for other things that brought pleasure. They would forget His works. As they lusted after other things that took the place of Him, often they wandered in the wilderness. And as a result, God would send a leanness to their souls. It wouldn’t be too long before an enemy would rise up against them and they would once again be calling out to God for help.
Isaiah wrote in chapter 25 verse 1, O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure (ESV). As my husband was reading out loud this chapter in Isaiah recently, a question arose within me. ‘Is God is my God or just a god?’ There better be nothing in my life I look to for approval or contentment more then Him. Everyone else in this life will disappoint me but my God will never fail me. God does not hold human expectations over my head, like others do. I am where I am right now. And that’s ok. God is my hope. God is my strength. God is my Shepherd. I am trying my best to pursue Him. And I fail everyday yet He leads and guides me and gives me grace to try again. Sometimes He lets me have it with His big shepherd stick to guide and correct me. He lets me know when He is pleased with me and when He is not.
Sometimes, I admit I feel the pressure others put on me with their expectations. Put it to ya like this: I am thirty-four years of age and have been married for ten years. People my age have kids. I don’t. People wonder why I don’t. Even family and close friends have those expectations of me from a distance. It may go unsaid but it does not go unnoticed. Sometimes I can feel it more then other times. And sometimes it bothers me but other times I brush it off.
I am someone who really likes to be prepared. I am not sure that I’ll ever feel prepared to have kids. It’s not out of mismanagement or lack of discipline that I believe I feel that way. It’s just a responsibility that I don’t want to mess up. I need to feel more prepared. But really are you ever prepared? It’s a life you’re raising. It’s a big responsibility that I don’t want to take lightly. Does that make me any less important? No. Not to God. And that’s what matters and in the end that’s who counts. If God is really my God then He’s the only one I’m aiming to please. If I please others along the way that’s a blessing too.
Turn on the news and who are they talking about? A movie star whose performance in a movie or a song is unmatched or a college athlete beating the record of someone else. Log onto facebook and whats the talk of your feed? Everyone’s best news. Pictures of where they are on vacation, a new house, a new car, a new kid etc.. On television there are several reality shows aimed at lifting people up as they prove they are better at something than someone else. I wonder how often this is what the church practices as well?
Whatever the case, if I’m looking at what God thinks about me that’s all that matters. I will never live up to anyone else’s expectations of me. God is God and that is it. Behind closed doors or out in public I will never be ashamed to say that. I surely hope nothing or nobody has the top place in my heart reserved only for God.
What about you? What are those secret idols in your life? That you pretend aren’t there? You shove them behind the door, under the bed, or in a closet to hide but when it comes down to truth about it you cling tightly to them?
God is a jealous God. Now who or what will you serve today?
Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who makes the Lord his refuge and trust, and turns not to the proud or to followers of false gods (Is 40:4, AMP).