There are many types of threats in the world today: terrorist threats, virus threats, economic threats, infrastructure threats, natural disaster threats, global warming, meteoroids, earthquakes. The list goes on and on.
Do you think about these types of threats? Do you worry about these types of threats? Are these threats real or just idle threats? I recently read a quote from Tim Keller regarding a different type of threat. Paraphrasing him:
Atheism is not a problem for most. But allowing God to live side-by-side with our idols – that is our biggest problem.
In his book, Counterfeit Gods Tim defines an idol as “anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give…”
John puts idols in three categories in 1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh (possessions), the lust of the eyes (pleasure), and the pride of life (power)—comes not from the Father but from the world.” We all struggle with one or more of these types of idols.
My idol is sports. I spend way too much time reading about sports and watching sports. Above is a screenshot of my iPhone. You notice my ESPN app is right next to my YouVersion Bible app. In addition, if you look carefully at the screenshot, you will see a capital G in the background. No, not G as in God, but G as ineorgia football.
It is very easy for me to put sports ahead of God. I imagine most of us struggle with placing stuff above God. So how do we put God in His rightful place of being #1? I believe there are three keys:
- Complete an assessment. How are you spending your time and your money? What occupies your thought life? What do you obsess about? What do you put into your mind?
- Put a governor on your idol. It doesn’t have to be cold turkey but limit your spending on your idol, limit the time you spend on your idol, and control what you put into your mind. Be intentional.
- Most of all let God transform you. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
God promises to transform us if we do our part – renew our minds by reading his Word, control what we put into our mind, and control how we spend our time. This is not easy – most likely, these are long term habits that we need to break. But the benefits are so worth it for only then can we receive what only God can provide…peace, purpose, and a passion to serve Him.
1 Thessalonians 1:9b “…you deserted the dead idols of your old life so you could embrace and serve God, the true God.”
In His Service,