To be brutally honest and transparent here, I have to admit that as my wife and I do our best to faithfully follow Jesus, the reality is that sometimes we are just very sad. We often feel heavy and burdened by the state of the world we live in, and we are saddened to see people in our lives whose salvation seems virtually impossible, no matter how much we pray for them. The world we live in seems to have two extremes, one is to display how uncool and archaic it is to believe in God and the Bible. The other seems to have attempted to make Christianity so “cool” and “hip” that Jesus has gotten left out, and the preaching of God’s word has been replaced by self-help sermons and motivational speeches. Not to mention the chaos happening in many churches I wrote about last week.
“Idolatry consists, not only in the worship of false gods, but also in the worship of the true God in false ways.” – Alistair Begg
I’ve only been walking with the Lord for a couple of years and maybe that is why this bothers me so much, because it’s still so fresh, so exciting, and still so easy to get overwhelmed with gratitude at the unending grace and mercy and love of my Savior. I know and vividly remember where I came from. I know the confusion and hopelessness I had, the anxiety brought on my a myriad of unanswered questions and the utter futility of the generic “platitudes” given by Buddhist philosophy, self-help teachers or wolves in sheep’s clothing like Joel Osteen.
It’s horrific to watch someone in your life travel all the way to India for a month to seek “enlightenment” and find spiritual fulfillment, only to come back and be just as bitter and angry as before. It’s equally burdensome to see someone who previously made a very positive impact on your life go through heartache and to now be embarking on a new journey to find healing, peace and answers, when you know he is looking for love in all the wrong places.
So many people today worship the god of their own creation and what is frightening is that the altar they bow before has nothing resting on it but a mirror. Self is their god, self-actualization is their pursuit, and they want to pick and choose the “path” that validates their own comfortable version of “truth.” Sadly, many today have no interest in being set free by objective and immutable truth.
“It takes a supernatural invasion of God to bring a man to living faith.” – Alistair Begg
To borrow a new friend’s illustration, if we embark on a journey across the ocean, the compass we look at for direction has 360 possible choices to route our course, yet there is but one that will lead us to our desired destination. If we are off by one degree we could be lost in the vastness of the ocean or run upon the rocks into utter destruction. Sounds a lot like Jesus’s words in Matthew 7:13-14: ” … narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
As Charles Spurgeon said, we must “beware of those who say there is no hell and declare new ways to heaven.” No matter how long you spend at the altar of self, that person looking you back in the mirror cannot forgive your sins, heal your heart and soul, or bestow you with eternal salvation. In fact most of us can’t even save ourselves from ourselves! Whatever false god you have conjured up by picking and choosing the things you like from various religions and philosophies and world views, that imaginary deity will not bring healing or life or peace. There is only ONE Way, ONE Truth and ONE Life. (John 14:6)
“Jesus is not one of many ways to approach God, nor is He the best of several ways; He is the only way.” – A.W. Tozer
If you find yourself lost in religion, and seeking answers that are out of reach, ask God to reveal the truth to you about who He is, about who Jesus Christ is, and about the true nature and person of the Holy Spirit. You begin the path to freedom when you realize that truth is not subjective, nor is it relative, but truth is objective and absolute. If you are interested in the whole truth, the sometimes harsh reality, even if it is uncomfortable and confrontational, true life change is coming. We cannot stay solely with what is comfortable and convenient if we ever wish to grow.
“Everyone has been created with the ability to reach out beyond his own grasp. But it is God who draws me, and my relationship to Him in the first place is an inner, personal one, not an intellectual one. I come into the relationship through the miracle of God and through my own will to believe. Then I begin to get an intelligent appreciation and understanding of the wonder of the transformation in my life.” – Oswald Chambers
If you worship a god of your own creation, I pray you will be sparked with a desire for truth and seek it out. If you find yourself often burdened, as I am for the lost and weary souls in your life, bear down and keep praying for them, remember the Holy Spirit draws and convicts them when the timing is right. No matter who you are or where you are at, one turn back towards God and He will be right there to meet you.
“No matter how far you go, there’s always a path called forgiveness back to God.” – A.W. Tozer
Do you have idolatry in your life that needs to be addressed? Who do you know whose life is governed by false gods that you need to be praying for?