By Dan Woods
“Sin isn’t only doing bad things,” writes pastor and author Tim Keller; “it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God.” And this, he tells, us, is the essence of idolatry. This month I am calling us to pray against idolatry in our hearts, in our families, in our churches. When we hear the word “idol,” we tend to think of statues of wood or stone. But idolatry is as alive today in America as it was in the Old Testament. Consider what Pastor Keller has to say the impact of some of our common idolatries:
- If you center your life and identity on your spouse or partner, you will be emotionally dependent, jealous, and controlling.
- If you center your life and identity on your family and children, you will try to live your life through your children until they resent you or have no self of their own.
- If you center your life and identity on your work and career, you will be a driven workaholic and a boring, shallow person.
- If you center your life and identity on money and possessions, you’ll be eaten up by worry or jealousy about money.
- If you center your life and identity on pleasure, gratification, and comfort, you will find yourself getting addicted to something.
- If you center your life and identity on relationships and approval, you will be constantly overly hurt by criticism and thus always losing friends.
- If you center your life and identity on religion and morality, you will, if you are living up to your moral standards, be proud, self-righteous, and cruel.
In closing, let me add to Tim Keller’s list and say that we can even make an idol out of our worship. Please consider the words of the song “Clear the Stage” by Jimmy Needham (especially the ending):
Daily Prayer Emphases for July:
SUNDAY – Pray for idolatry to be exposed and deposed through the ministries of our local churches.
MONDAY – Pray for the Lord to direct and empower our Cornerstone Conference officials as they lead us forward in “Kingdom Expansion” through church revitalization, planting, and adoption.
TUESDAY – Pray for every church and every pastor to be joyfully obedient in tithing and generous in offerings.
WEDNESDAY – Pray for true discipleship to take place in every Wednesday night class.
THURSDAY – Pray that every missionary itinerating in the Cornerstone Conference will find open doors and open hearts so they can return to the field as soon as possible.
FRIDAY – Pray for a miracle for the United States—that President Obama, the Supreme Court, and the members of Congress will prove to be friends of Israel, the innocent, and the institution of marriage.
SATURDAY – Pray that a hunger will arise in our churches to experience the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as “power to witness.”