Sunday, November 20, 2011

Idol Destruction - Part II

It's as simple as taking off an old coat and putting on a new one. And it's simple because you don't have to do it in your own strength - you do it through the power of the Holy Spirit.

A few years ago before my daughter was married, I gave her then fiancee a new White Sox baseball cap. The one he had worn for years was well-loved and needed to be replaced - in the humble opinion of a mother. It was faded, ripped, dirty as all get out and I even thought at times it smelled like...sweaty forehead. He loved this hat, obviously, so I didn't just replace it with any old hat. I got the very same hat - same color, same design, everything was the same but without the smell, dirt and with a bit more vibrant colors. I will note, also, that it came somewhat faded, because that was the style.

Well, he forced a smile but struggled to let go of his best friend, the hat. Eventually, he did trade it out but it wasn't an easy process.

I share this because letting go of our idols can be almost as painful as Austin letting go of that hat. All he had to do was take it off and put the new one one. But he struggled to do so because he loved that old hat so much. Now, please hear me - his hat wasn't an idol or sin - I just want to get that straight. But taking off the old and putting on the new can be hard because we love our idols so much.

Ephesians 4 tells us that dealing with sin is a process - a process of identification in order to remove, renewal of your mind (a step many forget) and putting on something in the place of the old idol - not another idol, but a righteous replacement that fills the void of the idol or sin.

Now that you've identified your idol, you need to do a few things before you move on. First, repent - fall on your face before the Lord and say it out loud. Tell Him your sin, acknowledge that it is an offense to Him, thank Him for paying the price for it and ask His forgiveness.

Secondly, confess it - tell someone else. You need to hear yourself say it out loud again. Don't beat around the bush - tell it like it is and ask for accountability. You may need to ask forgiveness to someone because your idol has affected your relationship with them - then do it. Get that slate clean through confession.

Third, renew your mind in the Word. Immerse yourself in Bible study. Study the topic of your sin. Find out what God says needs to be in its place - I'll give you a hint. It starts with a J and ends with an ESUS! Figure out how to let Jesus fill that void - follow Him, imitate Him and vow never to put that idol back on that platform in your heart.

And finally, put on that new self - do away with the old and focus on the new. Physically and mentally fill that void. If you struggle with Facebook obsession, turn off the computer and use that time to study God's word or write thank you notes to friends and family whom you love. If your idol is food, choose to buffet your body instead of fill it. Get outside and start walking instead of grazing in the pantry. If your idol is bitterness, start praying for a distant relative or rake your neighbor's leaves, all the while quoting the scripture passage that you will have committed to memory.

Idol destruction takes effort. But you don't have to do this in your own strength - let the Lord guide you through His Word, through His Spirit, through godly counsel and friendships and through discipline. Yes, discipline.

Dear friends, tear down those idols. Do it today. Place Jesus back on that platform - let Him rule from the throne of your heart. Don't wait till you feel like it, but do it today. To God be the glory...

By the way, I think Austin may need another hat for Christmas, but don't tell him I said so...

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