Sunday, May 6, 2012

idols of motherhood

"a good thing, when it becomes a god-thing is a bad thing."  -mark driscoll

"man's heart is a perpetual factory of idols" -john calvin

"[the idol maker] cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. he plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. then it becomes fuel for a man. he takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. half of it he burns in the fire. over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. also he warms himself and says, “aha, i am warm, i have seen the fire!” and the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. he prays to it and says, “deliver me, for you are my god!” isaiah 44:14-17

"dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts." 1 john 5:21

ancient people weren't the only ones who created and worshiped idols.  and these days, idol worship is not limited to southeast asia.

'Fiery Idol' photo (c) 2008, Sudhamshu Hebbar - license:

every person on earth worships idols.  some are tangible and physical, like in the passage above from isaiah, and some are ideological.  every idol is a false savior with a false definition of righteousness, promising a false heaven.  for example, if you worship natural living, your false savior may be exercise and healthy food, and the more you exercise and eat healthfully, the more righteous you are, leading to a false heaven of a long life.

the problem is, these idols aren't real, and wont really save us.  the problem is, though we may love these idols, they wont love us back.

by contrast, jesus is a true savior who knows and loves us fully, and generously gives a true heaven and true eternal life.  as a christian, my ultimate hope and joy does not lie in anything from this earth, but it hinges on God and his generous gifts, given through his son Jesus.

i say "amen!" to the words of john calvin, because i continually see how my heart makes idols of all the things in this world.  the hard thing is that many of my idols are "good" things, so they may not initially seem all that bad.  but before long, i notice that my heart is becoming more and more attached to these things of the earth, and i realize that i have begun to worship these idols, and that they have power over me.  thankfully, when God points out these idols, i can come to him and confess them.  not only is he willing to forgive me for worshipping things besides him, but he also gives me the power to turn from these idols.

the truth is, you worship things besides jesus.  but what are those things?  here are some good questions that will help you get to the root of your idols:

what do you fear? what do you stay up at night worrying about?
what consumes your thought life during the day?
what could you not live without?
what saps your joy?
what do you get anxious about losing?
what do you work hardest at keeping control over in your life?
what is the most important thing about you that you want others to know?
what do you spend the majority of your time/money/energy on?
what makes you feel valued?  what makes you feel successful?

if you are a mom, and you are courageous enough for some heart-tuning, i would challenge you to read these articles, which may strike a chord with you, as they have me:

you do not belong to your children, you belong to christ - "We’re so wrapped up with encouraging mothers to love their children and delight in them (which we should do appropriately) that we neglect THE WOMAN’S SOUL. Ladies you have eternal souls, you belong to Jesus, not to your children. Make your lives revolve around Christ, not your children. I believe you will find that when we focus on Christ, our parenting will harmonize around him. You will be able to love and serve your children better... To the young mom, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of pursuing your relationship with Christ Jesus with passion and rigor." 

100% certified organic idolatry - "For me, there are two signs that natural living has become an idol in my life. (We can also apply these to other things that we may be idolizing.) They are: 1. When I am unable to make natural choices for my family for whatever reason, be it finances or availability or lack of skill or anything else, I am robbed of some of my joy... 2. When I see or hear of other moms choosing unnatural parenting methods, I feel like I'm slightly superior to them"

can natural living become an idol? - "Natural living can become an idol when we willingly give our emotional and financial resources to achieve it.  Natural living can become an idol when we think that it can give us significance, security, safety and fulfillment.  Natural living can become an idol when we hoard the benefits and not freely offer it to others"

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