Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Daily Summit with the Living God: idols

Set free, by the grace and the power of God, from a life dominating vice that had grabbed ahold of my life.

Today in my daily summit with the Living God, I came to Psalm 54. What a powerful prayer.

Psalm 54 NLT

For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time the Ziphites came and said to Saul, “We know where David is hiding.” To be accompanied by stringed instruments.

1 Come with great power, O God, and rescue me!
Defend me with your might.
2 Listen to my prayer, O God.
Pay attention to my plea.
3 For strangers are attacking me;
violent people are trying to kill me.
They care nothing for God. Interlude

4 But God is my helper.
The Lord keeps me alive!
5 May the evil plans of my enemies be turned against them.
Do as you promised and put an end to them.
6 I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you;
I will praise your name, O Lord,for it is good.
7 For you have rescued me from my troubles and helped me to triumph over my enemies.

Here David was hiding from Saul, and others who were plotting against him knew where he was hiding and went and told his chief adversary, Saul, who was intent on hunting David down and killing him.

I was thinking about this Psalm and asking the same question I usually do; "How does this apply to me in my daily summit with God?" And here is what I came up with.

God has, and continues to, come into my daily life with great power. He has rescued me time and time again from the power of my chief adversary, the devil. He has rescued me from my days of living on the streets and from the vice of pornography that had gripped my soul and had formed a stronghold that I just could not break free from. This stronghold held me captive for many years until I realized the truth. Pornography had become my idol. When I came to this reality, and confessed it in my heart and mind, and laid it down at the foot of the cross, the Lord lifted this stronghold from me. Pornography no longer has control of my heart and mind, the Holy Spirit does.

The truth is, pornography had become my idol and I learned to make excuses to protect my idol and to rationalize in my own human mind that I need this in my life to get by. I was convinced that I had an "addiction" and that addiction became my excuse. "It's not my fault, it's my addiction." The blame, then, goes outside of me to the outer problem.

Sound familiar? That was Eve's downfall in the Garden of Eden. The forbidden fruit became her idol, as she took her eyes off of God and began to lust after that which she knew she could not have. Not only did she go down, but she dragged her husband into her idolatry. Of course, Adam could have said, "Stop, wait a minute, this ain't right. God said no, so we must honor His command." Adam bit into that piece of taboo too, and the rest is history.

There is something in our human make-up that causes us to foam at the mouth for the things we know are harmful, risky, or otherwise just not good to pursue.

Satan has used these taboos from the beginning to lure mankind away from God and to themselves, then they become easy prey; play toys for the devil's mischievous game. Vices, such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, the loveof money, even food, and yes, I have to throw my own idol of choice (The big "P" word that noone like's to talk about but wishes would just go away) in with the rest of these tools of the devil. That's what they are, tools, devices of the devil, used by him to lure us out, by playing with our own natural desires. You see, the devil is not God. He can't enter our hearts and minds, yet he does know our weaknesses; that is, the weaknesses that exist within every person. So, he dangles the forbidden fruit in front of us. What was that fruit for Adam and Eve? We don't know what vice or tool it was, but they all have the same evil objective, which is to draw our hearts and minds away from God and our pursuit of reaching the top of God's holy mountain.

So, who or what do you turn to for comfort and escape from the stress and concerns of life that drag you down?

Is it a liquid idol, sold legally in any store you may walk into? Take one down down, pass it around, and forget about all of your problems.

Maybe it's drugs; legal or illegal. At first you just experimented to fit in with the crowd, but you soon learned that there was an escape from reality and the problems of life, so you experimented a little more, until the next high wore off, so you went deeper into bigger and better stuff, until you could no longer say no.

Is it the vice of gambling; the rush of adrenaline you get as you place your next bet or scratch off your next lottery ticket?

Maybe it's a relationship, or at least the one you're currently in, because the last one just didn't do it for you.

Perhaps it's pornography. It started as something seemingly innocent; a young boy, peaking at his dad's stash in the garage. Then it became more frequent as you moved into adolescence, and couldn't help but notice the alluring covers of the magazines that are conveniently placed within easy view at the local convenience store. Then puberty came and you discovered a new idol to go along with the images that now invaded your mind at random. Then you went off to college, and had plenty of time by yourself, and instant access to any woman you want, that is, in cyberspace. By the time you reached adulthood, this idol had become so strong that you just could not break free from it, so you eventually gave into it and started calling "it" and addiction. You desparately want to break free from this hideous monster, but you can't, because it's an addiction.

If you are reading this and recognize some of these idols, because they have affixed themselves to you, there is hope. Look up, take your idol to the foot of the cross and lay it down...and leave it there. Then you will be able to see God's holy mountain and you will be able to begin climbing to new heights, without a gorilla on your back weighing you down.

Go ahead! Reach out! Trust the One who bruised the head of the serpent; the One who will crush every enemy and stronghold that comes against you.

If you need any help along the way, send me an e-mail and we can pray together.