God is an excellent Creator. His intentions for humankind were nothing less than spectacular. After Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden, they were not commissioned to just survive and eat their way through existence. They were created to thrive, conquer, and expand their lot. Life was supposed to be about victories and progress, never-ending fruitfulness and unadulterated peace (Genesis 1).
In other words, you were created to be amazing, which makes sense because we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
When we shine according to our God-given design, the enemy loathes it because Jesus is glorified and lifted high.
John 15:8 says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
Yet, after salvation, there is one thing that could keep you from realizing the fullness of God’s glory in you. And, that is your idols.
Idols in the biblical times were handmade creations that people debase themselves for, in fleshly worship, ultimately to gain an assurance of something hoped for. In the Old Testament, there were idols of all kinds, and the belief was that if you give that idol what it wants, then you would also get what you want.
Baal was considered to be the fertility god, and the hope was that he would grant good crops and women who bear children.
Ashtoreth was the goddess of love and war, and worshipping her involved perverse sexual practices.
Chemosh was the Subduer of the Moabite nation, and partaking in human sacrifices on his behalf was in hopes to win wars and subdue enemies.
Jeremiah 2:5b says, “They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.”
The lie behind idolatry is that you would somehow gain at the end. As if, somehow, if you pour yourself out to becoming close to this one person, you would gain some sense of higher worth. Or if your career goals become the reason why you live, you could be at the financial standing of your desire. You could torture your mind and body to look a certain way, hoping that the image you uphold can bring in more love and respect into your life. But, reality is, idols only leave you at a deficit. They debase you. Stunt your growth. And, sometimes even worst of all, rob you of your vision in life.
Idol worship causes you to compromise your God-given DNA.
Therefore, it is a privilege to have repentance to even be an option! It means that wherever we have compromised our worth and potential, we are given the option to bring it back into restoration.
The goal of repentance is not about being less genuine to who you naturally are. It is about fighting for who you were created to be.
You can trade in the crippling obsession with lust for the power of purity. You can let go of the anxiety of controlling your finances and know true spiritual wealth. Surrender your all-consuming need to be loved by that one person so that you can know the depth of being loved by God.
If you do not know what your idols are, then you could begin by asking yourself what you would ignore the voice of God for. If God tells you to put it down, and you just can’t, then it’s an idol. If it brings division in your relationships, distracts you in your worship, and kills your kingdom passions, then it is an idol.
Sometimes, the most deceiving part about all of this is that it could actually be something seemingly good – your career, your children, and even your church work. Just because you pursue idols within a Christian context does not mean it is not an idol.
Jesus came to do more than just fix us. Jesus paid the price so that we could take our weak minds, fickle hearts, and sinful bodies onto the road towards redemption. He came to take us back to Eden, the place where humankind was created to thrive.
For some of you, like it was for me at one point in my life, letting go of your idols can be painful. To you, your idols are not just ugly statues like Baal and Dagon, but they can be people you genuinely value or addictions that comfort you in times of darkness. To let such idols go may feel like it would break you. However, the Lord our God is a good Father. If He sees His children living like beggars on the street, when they were created to be princes and princess that rule the street, He will pry those idols from our hands. So, loosen your grip. Let Him clean you up and position you back into that place of royalty.
You were born to reign.
(Read Part 1 of the Repentance to Redemption series here.)