Wednesday, November 14, 2012

No other gods

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. (Isaiah 55:2 NIV)

I'm on my way to pick up the kids from school. I'm in the car alone, so I turn on the radio. Whatever's on NPR isn't holding my attention, so I start scanning channels. I don't really know the stations down here yet. The radio lands on what sounds like a promising Christian station. But it's static-y and tuning in and out as I head out of the valley and into Princeton. A Top 40 station is cutting in. I hear Adam Levine singing about his payphone drama (which probably began with actually finding a payphone. Is this 1992?!). I smile and wonder to myself which station will win...

I just finished an 8 week Bible study with some awesome ladies from my local MOPS group ('sup Monday Morning Manna?). "No Other Gods" by Kelly Minter is a look at what keeps us from an intimate relationship with God and gives us encouragement to smash our "idols". We're not talking golden calves here: money, TV, social media, image, drugs/alcohol, sex, food...anything that takes our eyes and hearts off of God is an idol.

The book challenged us to identify the idols in our own lives. And boy, do I have a lot of them. I can find lots of good reasons why I don't have time for God: My kids are going nuts, the dog needs walking, I need to post that funny thing Ava said on Facebook, the house is a mess, laundry, dinner, I'm get the idea.

It's easy to get discouraged and try to hide from God. But the thing God spoke to me most clearly during this study was, "Be kind to yourself." He knows I can't give it all up at once. He's not asking me to. He also knows that I will try, then spectacularly crash-and-burn. He will be there to forgive and encourage me to try again. And again.

The above verse from Isaiah asks why we would spend our money and time on things that do not satisfy. He's talking long-term satisfaction here. But as a culture, we balk at long-term. We want gratification now. Its easier than asking for help or waiting for His answer. But any relationship takes time.

As I got further into Princeton, the Christian station's signal got stronger. I was blessed by a song I hadn't heard before and was given some encouragement for something I've been going through lately. God wins. He always does.

What are your idols? Where do you place your hope?

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