“We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands.” These words of the prophet Hosea stop me in my tracks. In Psalm 81, “There shall be no strange god among you, nor shall you worship any alien god.” Finally we hear Jesus’s answer to that blessed question, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”
“The Lord our God is Lord alone!”
“Yes! Amen!” my heart cries out. But when I stop to take a look at my life—a painstakingly honest look—I wonder to myself, Can I really say that? Is the Lord my God alone, or are there any “strange gods” in my life?
I hope your answer is a resounding, “Yes, the Lord alone is my God.” But if you’re like me, the desire is very much there, and yet I sometimes fail. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.
For me, the biggest “strange god,” or false idol in my life is my phone. I think it may be for many of us, though it’s probably not something we care to admit. Some days I pick it up first thing to check for new messages before I have given thanks to God for the gift of another day. I spend more time checking who has liked my latest filtered snapshot than I do checking in with Jesus. Time spent on my phone has become habitual, often much more so than my prayer life.
There are many elements of life that, without care, we begin to idolize: Busyness. The desire for control. Comfort. The approval of others. Our physical appearance. Money. Relationships, even.
Of course, all these things are not inherently bad. In fact, many of them can be good when in right order. The problem arises when these elements of our life become more important than our relationship with Christ—when we fail to love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength.
Let us lay our improperly ordered lives at the foot of the Cross this Lent, that we might experience the sweetness of Easter joy, which God so desires to give us.
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Let’s spend some serious time in prayer on this one. Ask the Lord to soften your heart and open your eyes to what you have made a false idol of in your life. Then ask Him for the grace and strength to make a change.
Elise Howe is a devoted wife, momma, and musician currently living in NYC, though she will always be a midwestern gal at heart. You can find out more about her here.