The idols we identify in our own lives reveal truths about ourselves that are often hard to swallow. Sometimes we project our unaccomplished hopes and dreams onto our children, making their life's success an idol in our hearts. Sometimes we look to a relationship to fill a void within us that only GOD can fill. Sometimes we allow our careers or material possessions to define who we are and what direction our lives should take. We can also put people on pedestals, holding them above GOD in our hearts, expecting perfection from them and loving them too much. Is there any such thing as loving too much?
A passage of scripture that has often been misunderstood is Luke 14:26: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters-yes, even their own life-such cannot be my disciple."
What is Jesus really saying here? Is he actually asking us to 'hate' the things we value and love the most? Herein lies the answer. He is asking us to not value those things 'the most'. They must not be idols but must be relegated to their proper place in our hearts. The word 'hate' in the context of Luke 14:26 comes from the Greek word μισέω -miseō, mis-eh'-o; from a prim. misos (hatred); to detest (espec. to persecute); by extns. to love less:-hate (-ful) (Strong, James. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Hendrickson Publishers; Peabody, MA)
Jesus is not asking us to break the Ten Commandments, but he is teaching how to observe them. You see, we MUST PUT GOD FIRST IN ALL THINGS. The first three commandments instruct us to hold no idol above God, to revere His holy Name and to worship Him alone. The fifth commandment instructs us to honour our parents. We cannot honour our parents, love others and be honourable in relationships if we do not love GOD FIRST, FOREMOST and ABOVE ALL ELSE. We must love all these other things 'less' in comparison to how we love GOD.
Our idols will inevitably crumble at the altar of our worship. At some point in time a relationship will disappoint, a job will disappear, material wealth will dissipate and the thing we pay homage to will leave us feeling empty. When this happens, remember to redirect your attention towards the truth of God's Word. That TRUTH is the mirror whose reflection will show us what is inside our hearts. That TRUTH will help us to reorder our priorities. Then as we repent and put GOD first, all other things will fall into their rightful place in our hearts. We will be able to fulfill the call of GOD upon our lives, loving and cherishing those things in the way there were intended to be. Remember Jesus' words:
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33
Please share your thoughts and ideas with us on this week's Talk Tuesday Topic. We here at BGO look forward to hearing from you. Remember, the crown is not given to the swift, but to those who persevere and FINISH! Let us spur each other on to the prize of our salvation.