For the last few years, idolatry has been a big buzz word in chruchy circles. As a Pastor, I have even thought to myself sometimes: “Oh boy, here I go again…beating on the same idolatry drum.”
It is still true, that anything we hold higher than God in our affections and priority is an idol and all the usually illustrated suspects come into play – money, status, relationship, sex, comfort, substances, etc. How can you tell if something is an idol? If we sin in order to get it, or if we sin when we don’t get it.
But something dawned on me, as when I’m starting to feel overwhelmed my default mode is to go turtle. I withdraw into myself. It dawned on me that when I don’t turn to God for comfort, identity, help…I’m essentially ignoring God and my idol is me. Not that I think too highly of myself, but instead I don’t look outside myself to God for redemption. The answer (as Shane and Shane so well put) is never more of me.
This concept is not foreign to the Scriptures. Many Psalms are “lament” Psalms that are not complaining into thin air, or withdrawing into a turtle shell, it is a directed lament at the all powerful God who alone can help. There is usually a turning point in the Psalm where the author snaps himself back inline to realize the greatness of God, the great salvation he offers by faith in the Messiah that nothing can take away, and the futileness of turning only to himself. It would be a soul-building exercise for me (and perhaps I’m not alone) to soak in some Psalms and remember that I’m not the answer.
I’ll leave you with a great example in Psalm 13:
“O THE CHOIRMASTER. A PSALM OF DAVID. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. [Editorial note: turning point ahead!]
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
(Psalms 13:0–6 ESV)