I am in the middle of reading an article by Winston T. Smith called, “Getting the Big picture of Relationships.” It is both profound and challenging. Let me share some of his insights.
“Sin is the ever-present drive to replace God.” This is what makes it so foolish and wicked.
When properly understood, “Every human act is an act of worship. We can no more stop worshipping than we can stop breathing. Our every act, therefore, reflects our orientation to God” either towards Him or away from Him. In everything you do you are declaring either, “I do this in the Name, according to the direction, and for the glory of the Creator God,” or “I do this in my own Name, for my own glory, in my own way, for my own ends!” As we watch one another spend our time, our talents and our treasure, we are constantly hearing the background noise of worship: “This is what life is all about.” “Here is where meaning resides.” “You will find fulfillment here.” “This is the road back to paradise.”
In a particularly pointed paragraph he says, “On a worship menu where God is not an option, what exerts more influence under the sun than people themselves? They, most decidedly, have the most power to bless and curse on this planet; they alone seem to be able give life and destroy at will. And so most of our idols, even if they can be understood on an abstract level as condition or things like comfort, peace, pleasure, etc., at root are organized around the presence or absence of people. My desire for comfort, for example, usually involves organizing people around me who will serve me and excluding those who will expect service in return. Or my desire for control means organizing my world around those who are controllable and avoiding those who aren’t. People are often at the center of my idolatry because they have the ability to make or break my efforts. Even if my idols are defined in a more abstract level, people are the necessary agents of those blessings and curses.”
How do your relationships, then, betray the fundamental bent and allegiance of your heart? When you fight with your spouse, parents, or siblings, what lies at the root of the conflict? For what are you willing to fight? What do you want so badly, that you are willing to sin against God in an effort to secure it from threat? When you spend your time, your talents, and your treasures, what are you really trying to accomplish? Write down the answers to these questions, and you will be simply listing your idols, the myriad ways you and I try to replace God. Brothers and sisters, let us heed the apostolic example and “Flee Idols!”—not just flee from them, but flee to Christ, the only One who can really satisfy the deepest needs of our soul forever. In His presence there is fullness of joy. At His right hand there are pleasures forever more. Come to me, Jesus says, and I will make known to you the path of life (Psalm 16).