“I want ____ more than God”

When God isn't #1When I used to think of the word “idol” many images come to mind.

People dancing around a golden calf.

People bowing down to a statue of Buddha.

People worshipping the rising of the sun on top of a high mountain.

But often times what I forget is that an idol isn’t just a statue or figure of some sort, it can be absolutely anything.

Idolatry takes many shapes and forms and not all of them are even physical.

For the Israelites it was a golden calf, for Hindus around the world it could be a statue or an animal, but for you it could be something else.

What is an idol exactly? I think Mark Driscoll says it best in his sermon on idolatry:

“An idol is what keeps you up at night and gets you up in the morning. It’s anything that replaces Jesus at the center of your life. It’s what you turn to instead of God to get what you want.”

What is it that you do first thing when you wake up in the morning?

What is it that you turn to when you are in need?

What keeps you up at night wondering or worrying?

What do you talk about, think about, and dream about most of your day?

What would you fill in the blank when you say “All I need is _____ and I’ll be happy”.

Most likely, that’s your idol.

Your idol can be the car that you drive, the job that you have, the home you live in, your image or your body, a relationship, the phone that you hold in your hand, the computer or TV screen you look at, or any sin no matter how big or small that draws you away from God.

It’s anything other than God that takes up all of your energy and time.

On their own none of these things are wrong (other than sin) but they become idols when they take priority over God.

“The problem is when these good things are elevated to gods who rule over us. Instead of these things being the gift from God that they were intended to be, our sinful hearts twist them into false gods to which we give our lives, time, money, and life.”-Mark Driscoll

If you are too busy to pray because you are catching up on reruns of “Friends” for the hundredth time then TV is your god.

If you wake up in the morning and the first thing you open is not your Bible but your twitter, facebook, or instagram account then social media is your god.

If instead of attending your church’s bible study every Wednesday night you choose to work over time to get more money for that big house you want to buy than riches is your god.

If all you think about pleasing one person so much that they overpower anything anyone else says or does in your life than that person is your god.

So today… my question to you is this: who is #1 in your life?

Is it a false idol or is it God?

Remember that it’s not a sin to want something and to strive to get it… but it is a sin if you want it more than God.

There is no room for anyone or anything to be your highest priority in life other than God.

What is sad about these idol is that they give us the illusion that they can satisfy us and that they can save us.

That somehow when we make more money, have a higher position, get that amazing body, and get approval and applause from all the people around us that we will be happier.

And maybe we will be… for one day.

But then that happiness will fade because only God is the source of true joy and anything but Him will always leave us empty in the end and searching for more.

I love the story of Abraham because he was the perfect candidate for idolatry.

He had prayed, waited, and been promised the son that would multiply his generation for decades to come.

I’m sure that’s the dream he held in his heart and the thoughts that captivated his mind from the moment God revealed the promise of fathering a son to him.

Yet when God finally gives him the son He had longed for for so many years he then asked him to sacrifice him.

The one person that mattered most.

Not because He was cruel but because He wanted to see…

When Abraham had it all, would God still be #1?

And Abraham proved to be faithful to God.

He laid Isaac down on that altar and showed His Almighty Father that He would always be most important to him.

Today… who or what is your Isaac?

Whether you already have whatever it is that you’ve always been wishing and praying for or if he has yet to come.

Would you be willing to lay him down on altar and give him up to God or would you hold on to it tight?

Take some and think about what constantly fills your mind, how you spend your time, and where you get the most satisfaction from life.

If it’s not related to God then re-think your priorities and remember that there is nothing so important in this world that should get in between you and God.

Isaac wasn’t as important to Abraham as God was and neither should anything in your life.

Remember what Matthew says in his book “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”(Matthew 6:33)

Whatever you need, whatever you desire, whatever you are praying for if it’s God’s Will for you He will bring it to pass whether it’s the promotion, an addition to your family, or a dream turning into reality… but only when you put Him above them all.

God has no problem answering your prayers and blessing you just as long as He remains #1.

Be like Abraham… hope for your Isaac, pray for you Isaac, love your Isaac, but never put God below your Isaac.

Be blessed and walk faithfully with God! Anna… ♥

“Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.”- Jonah 2:8

what's your idol, idol, idolatry,

idolatry, put God first,


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34 thoughts on ““I want ____ more than God”

  1. Pingback: When you need to stop serving | daughter by design

    • Very true. Anything can be an idol, including ministry. Sometimes we can get so busy with serving God (and being a Martha) that we forget to spend time with Him (like Mary). It’s so important to always keep our priorities in check often because without it we can easily slip into idolatry.

      Hope you have a lovely day Erin. Be blessed!

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    • Thanks JS! Idolatry is so easy to slip into (unknowingly sometime) I’m not surprised so many people can relate to it. I’m excited to hear your sermon on it! It’s definitely something that needs to be talked about and taught more often. Be blessed!

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  2. We have to be careful on how we explain this for this Might lead people to think that if they put God 1st, their wishes, their dreams will be answered, this is in a way treating God as vending machine, if i put Him first, he will give me what i want. If my prayers are to put Him first, yet never to seek His will, we might spend the rest of our lives waiting for God to change his will towards us.
    The truth is when we put Him first, when we seek His will, our will is going to look very different, our dreams, the things we wish for will be in line with Him! The things we love will be the things He loves.

    Christians will tell people -once you put God first, he will bless you! meanwhile that person’s idea of blessing is a new car, a new home, a new wife.What does blessing look like in God’s economy?

    Christians do this all the time to single people, -when you put God first, God will give you the perfect husband/wife. Being on the receiving end of that will make that person think that the reason they are alone is because they don’t love God enough. That married people are better Christians and put God first. True?

    It takes time, but in walking with Him we will see our dreams, our goals, the things we wish for change, we serve a savior that was a servant, if we wish to be like Jesus having a new car, new iphone, new home will not be our heart’s desire, we will see people for what they are really worth, and how much God loves them and wants to restore them. We will server our brothers and sisters.
    Putting God first is a lovely idea, but if the reason we do so is so that we will get what we want, we are not putting Him first, we are re-branding works based Christianity as putting God first, when our true reasons are for our own gain. The enemy loves to bend the truth, he will take something a believer truly wants and that is to put God first, and he enemy will push us towards having a works based relationship, I give God this then He gives me that. Making us forget that God has given us the most perfect beautiful gift and that is His grace, mercy and love in Jesus.
    Thanks for the post
    hugs
    -stephen

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    • Hi Stephen, I agree with you 100%. Both of these verses can be (and have been) taken out of context [Matthew 6:33] “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” and [Psalm 37:4] “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart”.

      Our desires initially may be to get some kind of worldly possession or gain but when seek God first and find our satisfaction and delight in Him then those desires will drastically change. Often times we come to Him with all of our wants and after spending time in His presence we realize how selfish they are and He transforms those selfish desires into selfless ones which usually are very different from what we originally thought we wanted.

      Jesus is the best example of a humble servant. Humility and selflessness is a trait that is so hard to grow in in such a self-centered world as our own but with His help we can renew our wrong thinking and our desires to match His and with time our old self and old desires will give way to His.

      God’s gift of sending Jesus to die for us is really the best gift we can ever receive in this world and once we do nothing will ever come close to comparing, and even in our lack we will find that we have more than enough when we have Him.

      Thank you so much for you wisdom and insight. Your comment could have been a post of its own (and a very good one I might add). Hope you have a blessed day!

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  3. What happens when I can not fill in the blank ? When nothing seems to matter and I am filled with emptiness. Knowing that my children should be “Isaacs” but yet having little feeling about this. Food, appearance, stuff…none if that fills the blank. Guilt takes over when I read this blog as I cannot seem to do anything right, including being renewed…at a loss of words and drawing a blank.
    I love this post as it addresses many issues I have been dealing with and feeling hurt and sad that I can’t pray more and turn to God for the answers.

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    • Technically if you can’t fill in the blank then that should be a good thing because there is nothing you want more than God but if you still feel empty inside then maybe there is still a void in your heart you want to fill and you just don’t know how. I’m not sure what your situation is exactly and I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling hurt and sad but you can always pray and turn to God for answers. He is the only one that can fill any emptiness that you have in your life. Sometimes He just wants us to keep coming closer, to keep seeking Him, and to keep on praying until we find Him.

      “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:13

      Never give up on searching for Him, especially during this time in your life. The enemy will try to keep you discouraged, confused, and disappointed in yourself but God promises us that if only we keep seeking Him with all of our heart He will draw near to us. I hope that as you keep on crying out to Him He will give you the peace and joy that you need. Be blessed and feel free to email me with anything I can pray for about what you are going through specifically. Keep walking strong with Him.

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  4. So challenging, Anna! Thank you! I think we have to evaluate ourselves often! These idols can crop up so easily! I know I went through this before I was married. Definitely had a grip on my heart and it took a bit of time for God to get me to lay it down. Now, the temptation is infertility. But I am determined, with His help, to not let that desire for a family master me . HE is enough. Always. Period. Hugs, friend. You are doing a beautiful job over here! 🙂

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    • Thanks Kate. Self-evaluation is so important (and probably lacking in many of our lives, including mine). It’s easy to have different idols during certain seasons of life and it’s important to remember that although desire for some things are not bad if they become greater than our desire for Him then our priorities and values are out of place. I’m glad that in your desire to start a family He’s helping you stay focused on Him and trusting that He is enough whether He chooses to give or make you wait a little longer. May He always have that #1 spot in your life no matter what. Keep on inspiring and encouraging everyone with your posts Kate. I’ve been really enjoying reading your story of how you met your husband! 🙂

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  5. Thanks for your post… Love when God is speaking to me about something, there is always confirmation on it somewhere!

    We really do have to keep him as our #1 in life no matter what is going on in our life…. May it be good or bad situation that we maybe going through.

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    • I love those kinds of “confirmations” too. Glad that this post was one for you. You’re right, God needs to always stay at the center of our life and when He is we will get through every situation we are in whether it’s good or bad. 🙂

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  6. Wonderful post!!! What a reminder! Who is my #1 in my life? I’ve read this twice. I will share it with some of my friends. Thank you for this!

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    • Thank you Karen! I’m glad it was a good reminder for you. It’s easy to allow God to move from the #1 spot in our life (and the center of it all) and it’s important to stop and make sure that our priorities are still in order. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful day. Be blessed!

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    • Thanks! This world really is full of so many distractions that try to pull us away form God but with His help we can keep on walking that narrow path with Him and never lose sight of what really matters. It’s not easy but with Him it’s possible! 🙂 Have a blessed day!

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  7. I have learned that you cannot put nothing before God and you cannot do anything without first consulting God. I have learned to read my Bible and pray before starting my day. Also, to end my day reading my Bible and praying before going to sleep. Sometimes I may stumble in my walk of faith, but I always try to stay on track with spending quality time with God. Since, God has come into my life many things have changed for me for the better, but I am still a work in progress.

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    • Hi Donya, amen! The best way to start the day and make decisions that come our way is by going to God first. It’s tempting to go do things our own way without coming to God but often times our plans will fall apart and when we stop to think about why we realize that it’s because we made those plans without getting God’s permission and blessing first. Reading His Word daily and spending time with Him is vital in helping us live a life that wholeheartedly honors Him. We are all a work in progress but as we surrender each new day to Him we will become better and holy just like Him. 🙂 May He bless you and continue teaching and maturing you daily as you walk with Him.

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  8. I’ve recently been contemplating the depth of idols being the images or ideas in our mind themselves. It could be that the greatest idols are not made of anything (as you’ve said) but are idols in the mind. This leads me to further ask, could our ideas or images about God or Jesus be idols themselves? For example, Moses wanted God to tell him his name. From what I’ve learned about the culture of that time, there were many gods among the societies and so it was important for them to know the name of God so as to know who it is they are dealing with. Perhaps Moses wanted to bring definition – an idea or image – of God. Yet, God simply says “I am that I am.” A response that really isn’t a name at all.

    I have also been considering the words we attach to God in terms of how our ideas or what we claim to believe. We say “God is love” so, what images and ideas do we have about what love is? We say God is merciful, holy, kind, righteous, etc… but what ideas do we attach to these words and how do those ideas create idols or false representations in our minds about God?

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    • Hi Jack, that’s a really good question. I think often times it’s hard for us to pray and have a relationship with an unseen God so we try to find ways to “imagine” Him to make it easier, but that’s wrong. I actually read about it in a book (written either by John Piper or JI Packer, don’t remember which one) about how people like to make their own objects to represent God that they pray to (such as pictures on a wall or some kind of image/object you can hold that you can look at) and it’s also a form of idolatry (although it’s meant to be about God). It’s hard to know God without knowing what He looks like but it’s important to never resort to creating our own imagined idea of Him that’s not true to who He is in the Bible.

      And you are definitely right, we can attach false representations of God based on our own ideas we attribute to character traits written in His Word. I think it’s important to always think of God within the context of the Bible (not our own human terms) and rest in the fact that sometimes we don’t need to have a certain image in our mind of who He is and that as we get to know Him more intimately He will reveal Himself to us in new ways and as He does we will be content with knowing His heart and mind rather than seeking to find some kind of image for Him (which could in turn, turn into idolatry).

      Liked by 1 person

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