Confession: My heart is wayward. As wayward as they come. I’d love to say it is constant, faithful, loyal, and steadfast to what I know is truth, but that would be a lie. A lie that if I believed I'd succumb further into my waywardness.
But when I recognize my wayward heart and it’s insidious ways, I have the opportunity to surrender my unruliness and step into the righteousness of Jesus that is faithful, steadfast, and true.
Over time I realize I’m no better than Old Testament Israelites. I’m a captive in Egypt crying out for deliverance. After turmoil, I’m finally delivered, but I come to the Red Sea feeling the weight of impossibility. And it’s parted for me. On the other side, I begin having doubts, and I craft an idol to worship.
My life looks a lot more like the people of Israel than I would like to admit. I am Gomer, abandoning the husband of my youth when I’m finally comfortable. I erect altars to other “gods” that sneak in through my periphery and become so natural to my every day I deny they’re there.
In his book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller assumes that with our natural bent to worship we all end up with rivals gods. How do you identify these idols?
“The true god of your heart is what your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention. What do you enjoy day-dreaming about? What is it that occupies your mind when you have nothing else to think about? Do you develop potential scenarios about career advancement? Or material goods such as a dream home? Or a relationship with a particular person? One or two day dreams do not indicate idolatry. Ask rather, what do you habitually think about to get joy and comfort in the privacy of your heart? “ – Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods
When we’re actually honest, living a life fully worshipping God with our whole heart, soul, and mind is difficult.
My Sunday morning girls and I have been reading through the book of Hosea. I learn so much from these beautiful women. If you want spiritual growth, start giving your life away and be willing to see and listen (but more on that later).
As we read through chapter 10 I got caught up in verses 12-13, in the middle of God’s description of the waywardness of Israel and how distracted by comfort she’s become is a profound contrast.
“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors,” - Hosea 10:12-13
I reread those two verses. A sinking feeling and then gratitude.
I am guilty of eating the fruit of lies and trusting my own way. That is how I arrive at carelessly worshipping rival gods.
But, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude that in the middle of God’s rebuke he reveals his heart, he sees the unused ground of my heart ready to be lavished by him. All he asks is for me to turn away (repent), turn toward him, so that he may “rain down righteousness”.
How refreshing his righteousness is on the dry, empty ground of my heart!!
I realize my rival gods are everywhere, disguised they have invaded deep parts of my soul and I worship hollow imitations. My natural inclination is to trade God for a lie and worship the created rather than the creator (Romans 1:25).
My devotion to these gods can be SO deceptive. Here’s where it gets real.
I worship my success at work, but I also can worship my failure. I worship my body image, consumed either by how amazing I look or how insecure I am by what I am not. I worship the approval and disapproval of other people. I worship my finances, how much money I have or what I don’t have. I worship how much I work out or how lazy I am. I worship food, consuming too much or nothing of substance. My thoughts ensalve me to the created rather than the creator.
I worship ALL the time and most of the time, my worship is misplaced. I'm so longing for redemption I forget to seek the redeemer.
Instead of filling my life with empty worship, I want to live an aligned life. A life that is aligned to who God is, what he has created, praising him by how I use the gifts he’s given me, and instead of worshipping rival gods honor their creator and destroy the alters I’ve made for them.
This has started me thinking, and also instigated great changes in my lifestyle. If I’m going to live an aligned life, changes need to be made.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Col 3:1-5)
An aligned lifestyle is all about worship, the continual rhythm of breathing out lies that rely on myself and breathing in the goodness of Jesus.
So what am I doing about it?
Well, I’m adjusting my finances, what I consume (so let’s get creative with recipes), alternative holistic remedies (yeah, you’re going to hear about my lotions and potions, doTerra oils), manage time, stay active, and actually honor/delight in covenant relationship with the Lord.
Since I've recognized the waywardness of my heart, I am moved to re-align my heart to a loving God who desires me to desire him. And how he desires me!
“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.” -Hosea 2:16-17
The Hebrew word used for ‘My Husband’ is Ishi. The contrast here is between Ishi (husband) and Baal (master). The symbolism is astounding and breathtaking. The comparison between one we worship out of duty and demand, and Ishi, who we desire and need.
Contrast a strong, loving Ishi to the Baals in my life who can NEVER be satisfied, my worship to Baals looks like condemnation rather than freedom.
The very essence that God wants to be my Ishi humbles me and compels me to worship him and desire him to infiltrate every particle of my life, and I experience immense freedom.
So, I’ll be keeping you posted about how I’m moving to align my life on the daily, and if you’re encouraged to do the same, join me. Join me in worshipping in every area of your life. Join me in an aligned life.
A life aimed at healthy covenant rhythms with the Lord not predictable outcomes, behaviors or patterns. A lifestyle that surrenders my heart, soul, and mind and worships fully.
Question: What rival gods that you can identify are keeping you from worshipping fully and living an aligned life?
Prayer: Jesus, I need you! I need you to devastate the rival gods and alters I have built in my heart and my life! Teach me how to worship you practically with my money, my time, my body, my heart, my mind and my soul. Draw me to a place that sees clearly the places where you desire me to enter into practical worship and show me how to daily destroy the idols I have created. I desire to worship you the creator, no one or nothing else!