"You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3 NIV)
When learning about the 10 commandments as a child and even as an adult, I thought I was ok with the one about no other gods...I am a Christian...I believe in one God...no statues, no sun gods or moon gods for me. But I am discovering that I break this commandment every day. ANYTHING that you put ahead of or before God is an idol. Work, family, friends, busyness, Facebook...I make time (sometimes TOO much time!!) for these things, and God seems to go to the back of my mind and the back of the line.
If in our hearts we know that God will provide, that God won't give us more than we can handle, that Jesus carries us when we are weak...why oh why do we push God aside and try to run our lives on our own???
I think we like to think that God is in control, but our hearts just don't REALLY trust that fact. We think God is holding out on us...we feel pain of everyday hurts and problems and don't immediately feel comfort from God and so then we think he's not there or that he isn't working with our best interests in mind. If you are a Bible reader like me, you KNOW that isn't true, but down deep, it's easier to believe in our own power than it is a God we can't see.
We are fallen people...we make mistakes...we compare our lives to others, we feel like our lives don't matter....we KNOW we are wrong, but we can't seem to help it so we HIDE!
We hide our true selves, our true desires behind those idols that we use to replace the God who in our minds has let is down, or the God we feel WILL let us down someday. We hide in our busyness...we hide in our jobs/careers...we hide in our friendships and families...we hide. Some of us become controlling and manipulative...we will MAKE our lives and the lives around us the way we want them. Some of us become desolate and meek and just let our lives float around us. Some of us are a combination of those two. But sure enough...we hide our true selves out of fear that God can't possibly love us enough to protect us from hurt.
We're going to be hurt in this life. Solomon, the wisest man in history, says "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them"— (Ecclesiastes 12:1 NIV) There is GOING to be trouble...there is going to be hurt. It's how we handle the hurts in our lives that matters. We can't hide and bury our hurts...they will surface later on.
So...we need to take a long look at ourselves...we need to look at the hurts in our lives and how we have allowed those hurts to give us permission to hide in the modern day idols that have taken the place of God's power in our lives. If you are younger, you have a great opportunity to NOT follow in the footsteps of previous generations. Learn how to give your hurts to God...learn how to recognize when you are letting your life be filled with idols instead of God.
Think about a time in your past when you were hurt. What did you come to believe about yourself through this event?
Ask God to reveal to you the ways that believing those things has shaped your life. Has it shaped your style of relating to others? Has it caused you to have fear or mistrust about certain things?
What if the messages delivered with your hurts simply weren't true? IT'S NOT TRUE!!! Just because you were told something or experienced something painful...it doesn't have to have negative effects on the rest of your life. God DOES care for you...he thinks you are beautiful and wonderful. Jesus came to heal the broken hearted and to set the captives free!
I always look to heaven with anticipation...think of it...no pain...no tears...happiness! But...we don't have to wait for heaven to experience some of that kind of joy! When we learn to let go of our hurts instead of using it as an excuse to hide from God, we learn to let God heal us. That is hope...that is life. God has more planned for you when you put him first! Put away your idols...ok, you can't put away your job or your friends and family...but you can allow God to be first and stop trying to run your life! THAT'S what I am trying to do!