Thursday, October 28, 2010

Making Absolutes

Once again, great job on the articles girls. :)

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is one of my favorite books. It is based on the story of Hosea, a prophet commanded by God to marry a prostitute. After Hosea married his wife, the prostitute, ran away from him and went back to prostitution. Hosea, obeying God’s command, went after her and brought her back. The prostitute continued to run away from him and Hosea continued to bring her back. In Redeeming Love the first time Hosea brings her back he is furious with her. How could she leave him and go back to her profession after he had rescued her, and clothed, her and loved her as a wife. The biblical story was an analogy of Israel. God was showing Hosea, and those who would read His word, of Israel’s continual lust after idols of gold, silver and wood and His continual restoration.

What is the first commandment?

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; Do not have any other gods before me.” –Exodus 20:2-3

Notice how this commandment starts. “I am the Lord your God who brought you…. Out of the house of slavery.” If you think that this was just intended for the Israelites who had been rescued from Egypt I’m sorry to say you are grossly mistaken. We are all slaves to our sinful desires, and yet God has rescued us. He has brought us out of our slavery. He has saved us from eternal damnation. No wonder he commands us to serve Him alone.

So then what is an idol?

My mother and I have discussed the meaning of an idol countless times, and we were able to boil it down to two simple points.

            An Idol is either anything that you are willing to sin to get, or anything that becomes your absolute.

I believe the first point is pretty self-explanatory. Anything that becomes more important than following God’s command becomes an idol. However let me expound on the second. When something is absolute it means that it is “free from imperfection” (Webster’s dictionary). I find my worth, satisfaction, and purpose for life in something that is absolute, as I should, and as should we all. Something absolute will never let us down or hurt us. However when we place a thing or person in that position of being absolute we are now finding out worth, satisfaction, and purpose from that thing; whether it be money, food, or appearance; even a husband or wife can become an idol. As Lauren said, idols can be good things, but if we make them the most important things in our life, if we think of them as absolute, then they become our idols.

When you think of a “modern day” idol what is the first thing that comes to your head? Money? Love? Power? While all of these can be idols, I don’t believe that the objects themselves are the ultimate idols but rather, they are “surface idols.” In order to check idolatry in our life we have to rid ourselves of the “deeper idols.” Tim Keller introduced this concept of surface idols and deeper (or heart) idols in his book Counterfeit Gods. Think of it this way:

When you’re pulling weeds you don’t want to just cut off the part above the dirt, you want to dig, getting your fingers dirty, to the seed of the and pull it out by it’s roots. If you just clip the weed above the surface you are only getting rid of it for a short while.

As an example: I have made a certain guy in my life my absolute. If I try to stop thinking about him or having feelings for him in an attempt to rid myself of the idolatry, the idol will pop up in some other form; either as a different guy or as my own appearance. While this guy is the surface idol, the deeper idol is the need to be loved. God’s love isn’t enough for me; I need to find it in others. This is the heart idol that I need to deal with and fight. Again I want to stress the fact that this guy is not wrong, and my feelings for him are not wrong. Rather what’s wrong is making him absolute.

If you want to know more about the difference between deeper idols and surface idols I would highly recommend Counterfeit Gods. It is a fast read, but it is the book you can’t just read once.

We will never be able to completely rid ourselves of Idolatry in this life. It is a part of our sin nature. Back in the garden Adam and eve were willing to sin to get what they wanted and so the first seeds of idolatry were planted. However, there is hope.

“In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

God has provided us a savior that has overcome every area of sin. He has died for us, and it is because of Christ, our absolute sacrifice, that we are forgiven. God gives us the strength to slowly pull up the roots of our idols. The deepest sins are always the most painful to uproot. Just like when Aslan peels back the scales on Eustace, turning him into a boy again in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so the Lord peels back the deepest layers and deepest roots of our sin, rescuing us from the bonds of slavery and enabling us to spend eternity with Him; The Only Absolute.
(Yours truly) Belle Schuler, Oregon 


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