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The Making of Idols

I am so thankful that the truth about our work is getting more and more (re)established in our day. It’s not about secular vs. sacred with one more important than another or the compartmentalizing of our spiritual and earthly duties. God intends all our work and lives to be lifted as a worship to Him–it all honors Him when done “heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23).

Still, you can falter. You can begin to believe that what you’re doing is more important than Who called you to do it in the first place. You can begin to think that it’s your work that brings favor with God and man.

Isaiah 44 talks about a person taking what God has given in materials and the absurdity of making idols from it.

Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.” –Isaiah 44:16-17

SONY DSCSounds ridiculous, but you can easily fall into the trap.

The business you built with God’s help can become a point of singular focus with its rising or falling seeming to carry the greatest importance. The church you planted at God’s direction can take priority over family, health, or any number of things. Even the family He blessed you with can become the all-consuming drive of your life in any number of ways.

God can bring into greater fruitfulness only those who have set their love for God above their work for God. –Bob Sorge, the Fire of Delayed Answers

Each of us wants fruitfulness, but when the work of your life, whatever it is, is at the center, you’ve made an idol.

Whatever you can achieve in your own strength will bring other areas into suffering. You can lose the very things you are trying so hard to protect–business, ministry, family, etc. But when we put our love for God first, God takes the responsibility to work out all the questions and the mess for your good and the advancement of His Kingdom.

The road may be bumpy as tests come to pressure you into focusing all your time, energy, and resources on the work instead of God. In fact, I know it will be. But time, energy, and resources–you know, that’s your worship.

I don’t believe any Christian sets out to make an idol of their work for God, but it happens all the time. Worship has to do with focus, and your focus determines your direction. Therefore, by way of the law of transitive property, you can conclude that your worship determines your direction.

I want my heart and mind stayed on Him, set on His courts and Presence. Time to throw those idols straight into the fire, no matter how difficult or how beautiful they appear.

How about you? What are your thoughts on this? Do you struggle with this in an area?


fda-sorge3Welcome to week 2 of Chapter 13 for our book club discussion of the Fire of Delayed Answers (disclosure) by Bob Sorge. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. Since the chapters are longer and subject matter warrants, we’ll also be taking 2 weeks for each chapter. If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts and the widget to add your post. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

8 Comments

  1. I am passionate about my writing, Jason, but your post here was a great reminder that I should always use this gift to serve God and His purposes.
    Blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..What a Beautiful Thing . . .My Profile

    • I think we should certainly be passionate about what we do, but it can subtly crowd in on our worship, at least in my life I’ve seen it. Thanks so much, Martha.

  2. First, oops…I posted on the wrong chapter! Oh well.

    Second, this post is so timely for me. As I get closer and closer to publishing my book, it’s consuming more of my time. But I don’t want that to ever replace my passion for God, my heart for Him. This book is HIS, I want to be close enough to hear Him if He were to whisper that He doesn’t want this book published. I don’t want to be too busy that I miss out on my relationship with Him.

    Thank you for this post. For the past 2 nights I’ve been reading all the gospel accounts of the parable of the sower. I think it prepared my heart to read this post.

    • It really makes me happy when someone says they needed what I wrote. One of my consistent prayers over the years was that God would make me and my family people of “the timely word of the Lord.” Makes the “lean” days of writing worth it. :) To your point, anything can become an idol, especially good things. I’m learning over and over that He has more than something for me to do. I am privileged to know and grow in relationship with Him. Thanks TC.

      • You’re very welcome, Jason.

        And I know what you mean, it’s always nice to know God has spoken through you and touched someone’s heart. It’s nice to be used by God and I’m so thankful He occasionally lets us know it :) Other times we simply must trust His promises that His word will not return void.

        • True. Both are important times! Thanks again, TC.

  3. Focus determines reality. When I focus on Him, who He is, all other things become only means for worshipping Him. When I focus on all other things, He becomes a means for obtaining what I want.
    Kari Scare recently posted..5 Ways to Be Strong for the StressedMy Profile

    • Great summary, Kari! Powerfully said. Thank you.