Theology of Idolatry

Well, what a surprise!

A big name ministry person and his wife emailed me. Here’s some of what he said to me . . . and to think he called me his friend.

“We want to thank you personally for your friendship and support this past year. You are truly a blessing to us, this ministry and millions around the world. . . Thank you for being a part of our family. Together we are making an eternal difference in the lives of millions. [My wife] and I are committed to praying for you daily, and we believe that in 2007 God will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings you cannot contain.”

Well, imagine that. I’m not only a friend, but a part of his family. He PRAYS for me DAILY. And even though Jesus suffered, and we are called to follow in His steps, my new friend promises open heavens pouring out heaps of blessings. Wow! Maybe I’ll look at the stars tonight, expecting silver dollars from heaven to fall. I hope I’m not too disappointed if they don’t. I’ll have to amuse myself by looking at those boring, moneyless stars.

This guy who’s grafted me into his blessing-filled family must not have been talking to another evangelical leader who has heard from God an entirely different message. Seems the Almighty told him a big, fat disaster’s coming to America. Maybe if these two leaders met, they could duke it out. Mr. Blessing vs. Mr. “I hear God’s Voice.” I wonder who will win. I wonder if anyone would watch. Or care. Or laugh. Or cry.

The truth is, folks, our theology deeply matters. What we think about God matters. We can’t pick and choose Who God is by our own desires.

Hmm, I sure like stuff. I know! I’ll make God into a holy vending machine so if I manipulate Him in just the right way, He’ll send me more and more stuff. I’ll convince myself Jesus was actually rich, wearing designer clothes. I’ll live my life in ease, evade the book of James, and only adhere to the blessings part of the blessings and curses in Deuteronomy. I’ll build an entire theology based on my desires.

Or:

God must be happier with my political agenda. He sees things my way because I am so so so smart. I will plug God into my political views, having Him defend every jot and tittle of my beliefs. I’ll use the Almighty to further my pet projects, name dropping Him at all the appropriate times. I’ll use my perceived closeness to warn all the infidels of their evil political views, because really, this is all about power. I want power. And I’ll use God to achieve power as well as the glory of always being right.

I’m back. Sorry for the rant. We read through the Old Testament, marveling at Israel’s terrible infidelity to God, how quickly Israel runs to idolatry. Surely had we lived during that time, we wouldn’t have worshipped idols!

But we do. Every single day. We worship convenience. We bow down to ease. We sell our souls to secure power. We celebrate food or clothes or cars with more fanfare than we worship Jesus. We make an idol out of God’s blessings. We use God to further our pet causes or theologies.

I wonder what Jesus sees when He looks upon His church. I wonder what He sees in me. I wonder what will happen with the holy fire of God consumes my life’s work after I draw my last breath of earthen air. That’s when I’ll find out just how important my theology was. Oh that we would allow his fire to burn today, to char away the chaff of selfishness, blessing-addiction, control-wielding, reputation-holding, and personal glory-mongering.

Jesus, burn it up, so only Your ways make pathways in my heart. I want the Blesser more than the blessing. I relinquish my power and need for control. Take me. Teach me. Burn away the idols. And have mercy on a nation whose Christian leaders pursue Your stuff and tuck You in their pockets and bring You out when it’s convenient to their cause.

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