Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Substituting God

Since my last post, I've been mulling over the concept of "Ebeneezers". It's clear to me that an Ebeneezer (reminder of God's help and presence) can easily become an idol. Check out this definition of the word IDOL from Google:

  • a material effigy that is worshiped
  • someone who is adored blindly and excessively
Blindly and excessively.


An idol is something we actively create by the misappropriation of our worship to material items. An Ebeneezer, correctly used, is something that directs our worship to God alone! I thought of a few idols that are common in America.

The Virgin Mary and other saints. Many religions appoint idols as their focus of worship. This is seen especially in Catholicism and Buddhism as well as many other Far Eastern religions.

However, I can't ignore how many protestant Christians worship the wooden cross and the crown of thorns, and not Christ and His sacrifice. The cross was simply a means to an end. The cross has no power of its own. It is simply an image. It cannot forgive your sins. It cannot hear your prayers.

America is deeply entrenched in idolatry.

Look to Hollywood. We worship celebrities and dedicate a large amount of our income and time to them - CDs/DVDs/MP3s, apparel, accessories, concerts, movies, cable.

Look to the Silicone Valley. We worship technology. The iPhone/iPad, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360. Many of us line up for days outside of stores waiting for the release of the latest invention, spending hundreds of dollars to acquire these life-changing gadgets. The enjoyment of these things is not wrong, by any means. We have most of the things I mentioned above. =) However, they should not prevent us from worshiping God. If you don't have the self-control to set them aside, then perhaps they have become an idol.

Look to Washington. We worship politicians and our own ideals. We look to mere mortals to solve our problems. "Michelle Obama: The First Lady The World's Been Waiting For". She's fashionable and beautiful. She's a mother. She's a successful African-American woman. Yet what can she possibly do to save the world? Create a few policies. Advocate for education and women's rights. That's great.

When we put the acknowledgment and praise of our own opinions/political parties ahead of Christ's commands and the good of others, our worship is centered on ourselves and not God, even if our "stands" are Godly.

A few questions. Who is looking to Heaven? Who in the world is waiting for Christ? Looking for His second coming? So many of us have substituted these idols for God in our lives. Are we satisfied? Take a look at your finances. Are you satisfied? Does your spending reflect a life focused on God? For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

I read an email devotional today from Living Free Every Day. This line really stuck with me:

"An idol is anything that we depend on for solutions that only God can provide."

There is no substitute for God in our lives. Only God can bring true freedom to our every day lives.

I would love to hear what Ebeneezers encourage you in your walk with the Lord. Please comment or send me a message on Facebook.

These are a few Ebeneezers I cherish in my life.

My parents' marriage. God has brought them through many rough times and dark days, and His faithfulness is so evident to me through them. The joy they share in seeking God and the growth I continue to see in their marriage and their individual lives causes praise to well up in my heart at God's continual love and mercy! Praise God! He is good!

My sister Kris' death.
I'm reminded that God is in control. He is never careless. He is a purposeful Creator.

My husband and my marriage.
God delights in me and loves to bless us, His children, with the very best.

The Bible, The Holy Word of God. God never leaves me nor forsakes me. He was there in the beginning. He is present in my life this very moment. He promises me in His word that He has already prepared a brilliant future for my life - for eternity. I can trust Him, though the world falls around me.

Godly Music. God speaks to me so often through hymns and spiritual songs.

I encourage you to read the lyrics of "Be Still My Soul" and meditate on God, the only One who can fill those unsatisfied areas of your life. Cast away the idols in your life this moment and let this song be an Ebeneezer to you today.

Thanks for reading and for being my fellow seekers and encouragers in Christ.

God bless!

~ Kari ~

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