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We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives, We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ, we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.
When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.
Romans 6:6-12

I came across this verse the other day, and it seemed to represent an idea I was trying to get across. Which was that we are NO longer slaves to sin. Our desires to live for ourselves or (the one I struggle with) having to please other people. The answers from the first worship post found some surface level issues but hopefully, the second post helped to really dig down deep, into those places where our brokenness has made us into the person we are today that we often don’t want to face. A lot of times these subjects make us so uncomfortable that we don’t ask for help because we feel like we can’t admit these issues, or we lay it at the feet of Jesus only to pick it right again when we want to be comfortable.

The Solution

So now we know Jesus came and died to free us from the slavery of sin, and we know that worshiping idols is sinful, how can we be free of the shackles of idolatry? Idolatry is so hard to deal with because our hearts were designed for worship. In fact, the only way to remove idols from our lives is to replace them with God! Let’s revisit a verse from the previous post to see how this is possible.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Colossians 3:1-5

As Paul mentioned in the first two verses, we must be willing to put our hearts and minds on things above.

Repent

This requires us to repent of our sin and not just because of a fear of consequences but out of an understanding that Jesus died to free us from these sins and that our sin doesn’t only hurt us but it makes a mockery of that sacrifice. Seeing the damage, we’ve dealt to our own lives still has us at the center of our repentance which leads to a selfish surface level repentance out of a fear of consequences rather than a heart changing experience of realizing the deep love our God has for us.

Rejoice

But repentance alone is not enough. That begins the idol removal process, but we must know replace that idol with God. We must rejoice in him daily; He must be the biggest source of joy in our lives so that while we may still want to do well at work and want to get along with others that they are no longer in position to become idols because our love for God is much more important than anything else. Think about all the things God has brought into your life and the promises he has made in his word. Let these things define and sustain you rather than your fleeting desires.

Connect

It would be negligent not to mention that this journey should be attempted alone. Isolating yourself from Christian community is the worst thing you can ever do. Cutting communication with other Bible-believing Christians leaves way too much room for the world (culture, non-Christians, Spiritual Warfare) to influence your beliefs. Even in complete isolation, we would be left to our own internal thoughts and emotions which twist me up and turn me around all the time. Having Godly men and women in your life that can speak truth to you is essential to growing as a believer and keeping idols at bay and I pray that each and every one of you seeks that out as part of your walk.

PS
A lot of my ideas on worship and idols were influenced by Tim Keller and specifically his book: Counterfeit Gods. If you want to know more and see a much more in-depth explanation of these topics I highly recommend it! And if you use the link above you can help me continue to improve the site!

Let’s all be honest with ourselves and say we have struggled with putting things in front of God. I understand that we are not bowing down to anything or singing their praises like during worship in church but when I start valuing these things above my relationship with God, it’s natural for my heart to put them in his place.

With that in mind here are some things that I’ve placed above God:

Comfort

For most of my childhood the most important thing in my life was making sure I was comfortable. I dislike conflict and really any kind of discomfort even when I know it’s for my eventual good. As a result, I often seek comfort by watching one of my favorite movies instead of going to God with what is going on in my life. To be uncomfortably honest, I have let my insecurities drive me to emotional eating, trying to escape reality through music, or just zoning out instead of actually dealing with what is going on and going to God with my issue. This mindset is incredibly easy for me to slip into and I pray daily for God to renew my mind and focus it on what he has for me rather than my instinctual selfish behaviors.

Approval

The desire to want to fit in is real and exists in all of us to a certain extent. In the US that often involves spending money on things that are advertised as “necessary” to be stylish, classy, or accepted. My most recent major run in with how much this moment I arrived back home from my honeymoon. The living room was piled with a combination of my stuff, his stuff, and the new addition of a bunch of wedding presents and we were tasked with the process of figuring out what we needed to get rid of. We had a ton of stuff that one of us had bought that we rarely used but our culture had taught us to keep it because it looked nice or just to have it even if it made our lives more cluttered and harder to manage.  During the process of cleaning out all of our stuff, I kept seeing all of my “friends” on Facebook decorating their houses to be picture perfect, which led me to want to spend even more money on stuff to make our place look like an HGTV fairytale.  All of this made me take a step back to think about why I felt this way, was it more important for people to think my house is cute or for my husband and I to have a place to live where we could focus and be productive on what God has called us to do. This really help put things in proper perspective.

Security/Control

Does your job define you or the amount of money you take home bring you comfort? I grew up thinking that I needed to be self-sufficient and be able to take of my own problems. Because of this I end up wanting to control my surroundings and make decisions based on what I feel is safest for me not based on what God is doing in my life. It’s important to learn and realize that not only is my identity in Christ but that there is no amount of wealth or protection I can build for myself that can’t be wiped away by the world.

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.Colossians 3:5

In the next part of the series we will address how to deal with these idols in our lives and to focus our worship on God.

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