Treasuring Christ is the obvious antidote to treasuring idols.
Nothing destroys false worship like true worship.
When we see the majesty, glory, greatness, and sufficiency of God, we are drawn out of ourselves and toward Him.
“Oh, how we should hate the prosperity gospel and it’s promise of worldly wealth over and above Jesus!
That false gospel insults God as second-rate, a useful steppingstone toward a better job or a bigger house.
The prosperity gospel also robs us, taking our hearts away from the only joy we were created for – God Himself.
~ Ray Ortlund
“There’s a cruel irony that comes into play whenever we value something above God.
If we prioritize happiness above all else, we will never find happiness. If we grant marriage or family or work the highest place in our hearts, we will end up hurting those too.
These are all good things, but they were never meant to bear the full weight of our ultimate allegiance.”~ Drew Dyck
Is the American flag the next American Idol?
Can I be Simon Cowell for a few moments?
I came across an article recently where a pastor in Alabama used a portion of his sermon time to address the controversy surrounding Nike’s endorsement of Colin Kaepernick.
I was hoping he would take a balanced, nuanced approach to the situation. I was hoping he would acknowledge and respect the differing viewpoints on the issue. I was hoping that he would somehow lead the congregation to take thoughtful consideration of the social issues that are at the root of the protest itself.
I guess I was hoping for too much…he went 0-3.
What he chose to do instead was announce his own official protest of Nike. He proudly stated that he had “bought his last pair of Nike shoes”, took a pair of scissors, went to town on some Nike head and wristbands, and then flung the severed bands from the pulpit.
“America may not be the best country in the world and we’ve got a lot of faults, but I’m telling you what, a lot of folks died for the sake of what that flag represents.”
I’m not going to waste words or time downing this pastor. I respect him as a brother in Christ, and I respect his freedom of speech…which is ironically something that the flag represents.
But, I digress.
I’m very concerned, however, that this dogged “defense” of the American flag is trending dangerously close to idolatry.
Let me be clear here. I have no issue with having a sense of pride and respect for one’s country. I have nothing against anyone who simply disagrees with the idea of kneeling during the national anthem. I’m not even all that upset with anyone who wishes to protest Nike.
My Simon Cowell-esque criticism is aimed at the exaggerated exaltation of the star-spangled banner.
It troubles me that there are some people in America who are so obsessed with the appearance of respectability that they are unwilling to even consider that there are things happening to their neighbors that are far from respectable. It is particularly disturbing to me that this group includes some of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Which brings me back to why I am so bothered by how this Alabama pastor…my brother…went about this the way he did.
I’m all for addressing political issues from the pulpit. But shouldn’t we address those issues in a way that somehow points back to Jesus…or at the very least, to biblical principles?
My brother instead hung his hat on honoring the image of a flag.
And yet, there are fellow image-bearers of God being treated unjustly in the very nation that this flag represents.
Question…which image do you think Jesus is more interested in?
“Someone once said that ‘a community is where the person you like least always is.’
When you think about it, the early church was comprised of individuals, Jews and Gentiles, that despised each other. Yet they found themselves in the same fellowship purely because of the cross.
But in the American church, we want to build our communities around everything except the cross. We’re more prone to build community around shared culture, shared political views, shared styles of music, a shared leader…and whatever else.
And all those things subtly become idolatrous substitutes for uniting around the cross.”
~ Skye Jethani
“How do we relate to God?
Do we seek Him mainly in times of trouble, searching for answers in our distress…but ignoring Him during our seasons of celebration?
Are we like the Israelites of old? Easily swayed by the idols of our age, including such things as busyness, success, and influence?”
~ Amy Boucher Pye
“Much of the American church has abandoned the idea that people’s desires need to be transformed.
Instead, we try to figure out what people desire, and then we tell them that Jesus is the way to get it. That’s how we get people to come to our churches.
But we rarely get to the place where we point out that what we should desire most is Jesus Himself.”
~ Skye Jethani
“I think in many cases today, we’ve actually made our goals and dreams into idols. We’ll pursue our dreams to the detriment of our relationship with Jesus.
Jesus didn’t say ‘take up your cross, and follow your dreams’…just saying.”
~ Phil Vischer