My associate pastor, Tim Gwin, once taught a Sunday school class on idolatry. He said that you know you worship something when you are cut off from it and can no longer be happy or satisfied. He also said that an idol is anything you look to for your self worth other than Christ. We are currently living without most of our worldly possessions, in a country where we know no one, without a church home, and I am convicted. When I think about all the things I miss: cooking, talking to friends, painting, taking care of the house, our activities at church, I am aware that I might as well be listing my idols. I am proud that I cook homemade meals for my family. I feel a mite superior when the house is tidy and organized. Even my friends and activities at church (while essential towards my growth in righteousness,) can be used by my twisted heart as an easier path to comfort or happiness. Now, separated from all these things, I find myself discontent, dissatisfied, missing out on chances to enjoy my children or my husband because I want the things that make my life more comfortable. I want my comfort idols! I say the joy of the Lord is my strength and that I rejoice in the Lord but this time is showing me that in practice I actually use a lot of other things to make myself feel good and I call it rejoicing in the Lord. Really I am rejoicing in the things the Lord has given me, which is fine, until I become so dependent on them that I can’t serve Him without them. I see now that all the times I let myself become moody or overwhelmed what I am really saying to God is “I can’t enjoy You until You make this other thing the way I like it!” I am not glad that I still haven’t figured out international grocery shopping, or that it has been nearly two months since my last social encounter, and certainly not that we are currently without a church home, but I am delighted and honored that when I wake up tomorrow I will be complete, and whole, and content, solely because Christ is with me and I know He has a plan for me. I am hopeful that the next time disappointment and discouragement strike I will be quicker to fall into Christ and less emotionally ruled by my circumstances. I’m honored that the Holy Spirit is teaching me what it really means to need Christ alone.
The verse I picked for Elliana when she was born in Philipians 4:4-8 ‘Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice,” it begins and then it goes on to describe the various ways you should control your thoughts so that you can achieve this constant joy in the Lord.