Monday, November 3, 2008

Idols, Harlotry, and Addiction

God has been working on me about this subject for a while. I have an “addiction” that I have tried to excuse and justify, but God is showing me that it is hindering my spiritual growth. No, I don’t smoke or drink or do any of those ‘big sins’ (as some people might call them), but I believe that ANYTHING that we chose to do and that continuously distracts us from our true purpose in life can be idolatry, harlotry, and an addiction.
Mine is making up stories about myself. I have dream castles that are as high as the moon. Anytime my brain has a break, when I’m out walking or lying in bed going to sleep, I tell myself these fairytales. Most people wouldn’t see any problem with it, but I have tried several times to stop because I believe it is very vain and silly. Each time I end up going back to them. Only recently have I been reminded that it is also a spiritual hindrance. Here are some of the verses and thoughts God has been using to show this to me.
It started when I was reading Daniel 5. That is the chapter where Belshazzar uses the temple vessels to drink wine, and God subsequently judges him (the hand writing on the wall story from Sunday school :D). As I was reading, verse 23 really jumped out at me. The first part talks about how Belshazzar had used God’s things to toast his false gods, then the last bit says: “and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.” One of the things that popped out was the play on words that could be used. The VESSELS of the temple were being used in idolatry…WE are referred to as vessels (see Romans 9 and other verses too). When we use our bodies, our time, or our talents to praise and celebrate ‘idols’ without placing God first and foremost, we also fail to honor our Creator and are just as liable to punishment as Belshazzar.
A week later I was reading in Hosea when I came across another verse which ties into all this. “They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst and they do not know the LORD.” I wrote “Idols and ‘false lovers’ can keep one from directing their deeds toward God and can keep one’s focus on something other than God. What am I ‘playing the harlot’ to in my life that is stealing my focus from God?” In light of that, Hosea 3:1-2 was comforting. Even though Israel had gone astray, God never stopped loving His people. The same is true for me. He keeps finding me and bringing me back to Himself, even when I go astray.
Just today is when it really hit me that my stories are my harlotry. Please pray for me, that I would look to God instead of to my selfish little pleasures as a source of joy and fulfillment. In closing, here are a few verses from Hosea 13 that I read today. Although they don’t have to do directly with this subject, I think they are good reminders.
4 “Yet I am the LORD your God
Ever since the land of Egypt,
And you shall know no God but Me;
For there is no savior besides Me.
9 O Israel, you are destroyed,
But your help is from Me.
10 I will be your King;
Where is any other,
That he may save you in all your cities?
14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
O Death, I will be your plagues!
O Grave, I will be your destruction!”