Do you know you look like
November 16, 2021, 3:11 PM

"Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? Therefore speak to them and tell them, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the Lord will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry. I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols." Ezekiel 14:3-5

“Has anyone ever told you that you look like....?" I don't know about you, but I get apprehensive anytime someone starts a conversation with a question like that. I hope they will say I'm the spitting image of some strikingly handsome Hollywood A-Lister. But, unfortunately, from my experience and what many people have told me, I'm spitting image of some average Joe. I try to take these comparisons as a compliment (or at least in stride), yet it kind of stings knowing that's what people see in me.  

We all have a tendency to put our hope in the things of this world for purpose, meaning, and security. Our struggle with idolatry is a significant concern to God. Judging by how often this topic shows up in Scripture, we can conclude that very few issues matter to God more. God knows that we become what we worship. 

What importance does the beer bottle play for the person who needs a drink to get through the day? How lost does the obsessively social person feel without their iPhone at their fingertips? How powerful are the numbers on the scale for the person who finds their self-worth in their appearance? How stressed does the person who money means more than anything become when their income is changed? 

The list could go on and on: the refrigerator as a place of refuge for those seeking comfort, the designer clothes for the person who believes their value is in labels, or the computer at night for the lonely guy. The tangible idols we can see like the bottle or computer indicate a deeper problem occurring within us. 

But what about the struggles with idolatry that remain hidden under the surface and never manifest themselves into something tangible? Scripture is clear that God is more concerned with these 'idols of the heart' than anything we construct with our hands (Ezekiel 14:3). Idols of the heart are harder to pinpoint with the naked eye. There's the mom who pursues portraying a perfect household, the man who fights for complete control of the world around him, the woman who needs to be a size 0 to feel valued and loved. 

The punishment for giving in to whatever our hearts crave is the giving up of control. In a way, we become the idol. We, along with everyone else, have a difficult time seeing ourselves apart from what we've allowed to sit on the throne of our heart. As a result, we draw a striking resemblance to what we devote our affection and attention towards.

The one who medicates themselves through a bottle is labeled an alcoholic. The individual who lives at the office is now a full-fledged workaholic. The woman who wants everything just so is your typical control freak. The idols now shape our identity. We begin to look like them as our lives, in turn, become hollow and empty. With our ears tuned into the idol's wishes, hearing what God has to say is challenging. But, it doesn't have to be that way. It requires an honest look in the mirror. By seeing past the external behavior, we can delve into the issues of the heart and see what is happening behind the scenes. 

Identifying our idols positions us to be grateful. Being honest about our desires is the first step towards freedom. Only when we keep our hearts open to being formed in God's image will we ever forsake attempting to create a God on our terms. We must view the command to repent and destroy our idols as a gracious command from God to help us- to push us to the life we most want. He is drawing us towards the complete fulfillment of our desires (Psalm 37:4), and it is His steadfast love that sustains us. What is the idol that is taking a place of prominence in your life?

Prayer: Father God, I know these idols do not take root in a person's life overnight. They thrive and grow when a simple desire remains unchecked. Lord, may I be vulnerable enough to look inside myself and identify what I hope will bring me life. Then, by bringing these things to the surface, may I replace them with a renewed focus on You and Your love. I desire people to see You when they watch how I live my life and spend my days. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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