“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen” – 1 John 5:21
It was a cold November winter night. I had just started reading Wait and See by Wendy Pope when God used just one sentence to wake me up. It said: “ we should evaluate how the wait is drawing us closer to the Person of our faith [rather than the object of our wait]”. As I continued reading, the author reminded me that there are three ways that we can respond to our wait:
- Seek God and tend to the things God is calling us to work on
- Try to “help” God by manipulating the situation
- Turn the object of our wait into an idol.
As I considered my wait, I couldn’t help but wonder what had been my response in my wait.
Was I focusing on the Person of my faith more than focusing on the object of my wait?
Was I using my wait to focus on God?
Was I placing something ahead of God unknowingly?
Could I have made the object of my wait a little idol?
As I reflected on these questions, I realized the answers did not come naturally. It should have been easy for me to say “Yes I’m totally focusing on Jesus. He has my heart and nothing else.” But the answer was not so simple. The truth is, the object of my wait had slowly been taking more and more space on the throne of my heart. What about you friend? Have you unknowingly been placing the “One” that you are hoping for on the throne of your heart? Is your mind consumed with thoughts about your future husband or future wife?
When we think of idols in the Bible, we often picture statues of wood, metal, etc that were meant to represent a particular (man made) god. But those are not the only things that can become idols. In reality, an idol is anything that we place on the throne of our heart rather than God. It takes the seat that should be reserved for God exclusively. My desire for marriage was evidently a little idol, even my desire to become a parent as I took the time to answer some hard questions. Oh yes, this was painful for me to admit but as I thought about it and even looked at my past prayers in my journal, I began to see things a little clearer.
Throughout my wait, I thought I had been focusing more on God than my wait or even the object of my wait. You see, I was praying. I was reading God’s Word every day and went to church every Sabbath. I was at every prayer meeting. I was reading every book to help me grow my faith. And the list goes on. And yet… I had to realize that though my actions were right, my motivates were not.
I had created for myself a little idol during my wait in my season of my singleness. Deep down, I had hoped God would see my determination, my persistence, my deep desires and my “good deeds ” or way of life, and reward me with the object of my wait. This was not easy for me to admit or digest but it was true.
That night, God had to show me that I had allowed something else to grab hold of my heart. Though He cares about my needs and desires, He wanted my whole heart undefiled. As I came to His understanding, I cried apologetically (don’t mind me, I’m a feeler, a crier), confessed my sin, repented and asked God to capture my heart again and make it His, only His. And friend, He did just that. This was the beginning of a wonderful journey with God and it has only been getting better and better. Now, this does not mean that I have reached the finish line. As Paul would say: “I count not myself to have apprehended” (Philippians 3:13a) but I keep pressing forward, with the intention not to allow anything in my life to take God’s place in my heart. And you can too. Surrendering to God is a daily work for me. Would you surrender yourself and your heart to Him today friend?
How great you are! How marvelous, loving and forgiving! Father, I confessed that I have not always placed you first and my heart has been too often divided. Forgive me Lord for I am truly sorry and repent of my sin. Reveal to me Lord anything that I have given priority to over you. I invite you to take back your seat on the throne of my heart. I surrender myself to you this day and ask for a fresh measure of your Holy Spirit. My desire is to love and follow you and you alone all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Psalm 86:11 NIV
Ezekiel 11:19 NIV