Anytime we put a “thing” between us and God…that’s an idol. Anytime we take God off the throne of our heart and put that “thing” in His place…it’s an idol. We’d all vehemently deny that we engage in idol worship…but let’s stop and think about for a moment. An IDOL is – Iconoclastic Ideology that causes Deception Over Our Lives. An idol is something that attacks and opposes cherished beliefs and doctrines in a very misleading and crafty way…slowly and deceptively worming its way into our lives over time…until that idol has become firmly established on the throne of our heart. We may say we’re not into idol worship…but who’s sitting on that throne today? The newest smart phone…an addiction…unforgiveness? Anything can become an idol when it comes between and causes discord between God and you.
Our Heavenly Father is both benevolent and altruistic when it comes to blessing us. But we usually take that graciousness and turn it into prideful thinking. “Look what gifts the Lord has given me!” I Peter 4: 10-11 reminds us that we are to use those gifts to serve others, not flaunt them in front of people as trophies. The Apostle Paul warns us here that’s it’s all about our state of mind when regarding our giftings… it’s all about gratitude, not attitude and humility, not vanity.
As Believers, we all go through times that we wonder if we’re hearing God correctly. Maybe it’s times when He seems far away…or we feel we’re in a dry place in our walk with Him. That’s when this verse and Romans 8:28 needs to be before us. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” The Lord uses our gifts, talents, and passions throughout our Christian life to bring edification to others…and just because we don’t “feel it” doesn’t mean we’re still not being used of Him. We’ll all go through seasons of our life when our gift mix may wax and wane…certain ones coming to the forefront, while others seemingly retreat…but our gifts will always remain the same. The writer of Hebrews quoted Psalm 110:4 when he said, “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind.” For He is the God of the past, present and future…and He will not recall what He has already given, and His ultimate plan and purpose for our life will prevail.
Humans perceive through their senses. But without good judgment constantly weighing how we feel to what’s morally right…we can easily go astray. When we allow our feelings to overrule our understanding…we jump from one thing to another with no forethought – no discipline – simply doing what feels good at the moment. But by having wisdom always in view, we will consider things through eyes of Godly insight and sensibility…not by fickle, momentary feelings.
Over a lifetime, you’ll probably be able to count those special Christian friends on just one hand. But there’ll be one person, one very unique friendship that will stick out in your mind. A bond between the two of you that defies time, miles, and blood…a brother or sister in the Lord, that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, will be there for you, no matter what. Jonathan and David had that type of relationship…a connection that David called, “wonderful, a love more wonderful than that of women.” (II Samuel 1:25-26) If you haven’t reached out to this special person in a while, I urge you to do it today…if nothing more than to just thank them for their friendship, and celebrate the love you have for each other in Christ.
Paul made it a habit of practicing gratefulness. In not only this letter to the Philippians but in his letter to the Romans he showed his appreciation and encouragement. In Romans 1:8 he writes, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you…” Why did he do this? Well, in Philippians 1:7 Paul goes on to add, “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart.” Paul not only practiced a grateful heart, but he went on to affirm the good in people. For when we show appreciation, say thank you, and speak positive words into someone…they are built up, edified, and given new self-worth.
It’s part of life here on earth…trials, illness, and loss are inevitable. Jeremiah 8:15 sums it up very well how we can feel at these times, ” We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there was only terror.” In these fearful, confusing times we long for the light at the end of the tunnel…but all we see is darkness. “He has blocked my way so I cannot pass…” In this verse, the Hebrew word for blocked is gadar – which means to build or heap up stones to make a wall. We sometimes do feel walled in or blocked off… but know God may be also protecting you from unseen evil you know nothing about. In those dark times, we need to put all our trust in the Lord and wait for the storm to pass.