I'm just finishing up a class on the book of Joshua, which has been a wonderful and fruitful experience this semester. (I was actually nostalgic last night when I finished up David M. Howard's commentary last night... my roommates thought I was a little nuts).
There are so many things I've taken away from the book, but one thing my professor said this morning will stay with me, especially in light of the bible study I've been doing since August with some of the women in my church. He said, "We make our idolatry so minimal."
World Harvest Mission wrote a study called Gospel Transformation, and in it there is one main lesson on identifying your idols (there are subsequent lessons to follow as well). That idol lesson is brought up almost every week when we meet; it has had such a profound impact on all of us. Then my professor's words this morning... just so much for me to ponder and process.
There is an idol behind every one of our sins. As someone who loves to name things, understanding the idols behind my sin is invaluable to helping me understanding not only what is behind my sin, but even why I am sinning. (Which I have an upcoming post about). Understanding why I sin gets at the root of the issue. It goes beyond the external and helps me understand the why and not just the how.
It's one thing to work on never committing the sin again, it's yet another to have your heart changed so the option of committing the sin again is just... gone from your sights. You just don't want to do it anymore, because the thought grieves your heart. The external part of sinning is only half of the sin, because even though you've stopped the act of the sin, it's another step to change how you feel about the sin inside. As I figured this out, I've realized this is where the "transformation" part of the curriculum title comes in. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I make too little of my idols. I understand that so much more now in light of the two-fold nature of my sin. The fact that an idol lies behind everyone of my sins means I simply cannot make too little of my idolatry. It is ever-present - the root and cause of my sin. That's a pretty big deal. It's funny to think about making your idols a big deal (there's some irony in that) but to minimize the impact they have on my life (to borrow a phrase from my pastor) is perilous to the soul.
I've been privileged to help lead worship at Central Presbyterian Church's new site church in Chesterfield. Last week we did this song. Here are some of the lyrics:
A thousand times I've failed Still your mercy remains And should I stumble again Still I'm caught in your grace Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame my heart and my soul, Lord I give you control Consume me from the inside out LordI've had this album for two years. But the words to this song have never meant as much to me as they do now.