Points to Ponder: The American Idol
Points to Ponder
The American Idol
When life is good, where is God?
I have certainly heard that question when life is rough; but when life is good, certainly that must mean He's there pouring on the blessings. I submit to you that it is when life is good that we are often paying the least attention to God.
Jesus said it is difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19:23-24). Not impossible, but quite difficult. When compared to most of the six billion people on earth, we are the rich. Very rich. What talent, what gift, what treasure, what good outranks God in your life?
The idolatry of the good is the American Idol.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." (I Peter 5:8 NKJV)
This one who walks about is not always looking at our glaring weaknesses; we're usually quite aware of those. The devil goes after many of us in our strengths. The talented and wealthy suffer in that their struggle is with the good things that hinder a closer walk with God. From the time of his fall from Heaven he has sought to steal God's glory, to rob Him of the worship and obedience which is His due. If he can get us to invest our attention, our resources, and the priority allegiance to those gifts and talents we so enjoy, then an idol has been elevated before our spiritual eyes.
These are "good things." We can justify our involvement in them with a long list of admirable and perfectly logical reasons. Meanwhile, for whom have we made the sacrifices? And what area of life has rendered that sacrifice?
How many times has a worship service been missed, a class or Bible study skipped? How long has it been since you spent even five minutes in God's word? Why don't you have the time? Some say that they don't understand it. Why don't you understand it? Everything that matters to you you have worked hard to understand and master. True? Why does one's relationship with the Lord have so many qualifiers and conditions on it? And if God is a loving God (as so many people find comfort in saying), why do we constantly take that love for granted as if we deserve Him and He's lucky to have us?
Much of our life needs real prayerful examination. Even in the worst of times, most of us can easily say that we are very blessed. The poorest of us is quite wealthy. I have never seen photos of children in America with distended bellies due to starvation, or people in genuine need who were never helped if the community knew of it. Life is not easy; for some it is very painful and full of burdens. Yet, it is usually the needy ones and those who know pain and who suffer in silence who seem to have a stronger faith than many of the well off and well fed. It's an interesting, non-scientific observation on my part. Perhaps some real research firm can prove me wrong, but in my corner of the world I know what I have seen in other people as well as in myself.
The American Idol is the good life. We live for it and work for it. Some will even die for it. Here's the point to ponder: Are the good things (talents, gifts family, vocation, etc.) really that good? Is it giving God glory or robbing Him of it? Are you at times sacrificing the Best for the good?
As you reflect on that last question and you have an answer to it, I ask you this: Are you sure?
Though Isaiah speaks of the man-made idols of the pagans of his day, God's word sets forth a timeless principle: "Those who make an image, all of them are useless, and their precious things shall not profit; they are their own witnesses; they neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed. Who would form a god or mold an image that profits him nothing?" (Isaiah 44:9-10 NKJV)
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb: "I am the LORD, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself; Who frustrates the signs of the babblers, and drives diviners mad; Who turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolishness;" (Isaiah 44:24-25 NKJV)
Is any good thing in this earthly life worthy of greater worship than the One who created it - and you?
This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public web site and encourage all readers to visit for similar material.