Weekly Wisdoms for the week of October 11, 2021
It is easy to justify doing good works for God as a substitute for spending real, intimate, quality, personal time with God. For example, a youth pastor may spend many hours planning events for kids—preparing the music, setting up the games, arranging the transportation, and even preparing a brief message. However, none of that is a substitute for spending personal time with God—reading the Bible, praying, seeking God's guidance, worshiping, and just sitting in His presence.
Unfortunately, many people are often so caught up in other activities that we use them as an excuse for not spending time with God. Instead, they need to make a firm decision to put God first in our lives. For example, King David, who certainly had many opportunities to fill his time with other activities, knew that spending time with God is an absolute necessity—a vital need. In Psalm 27:4, he said that God was the most important thing in his life: One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
Indeed, Jesus declared that if we seek God, he will take care of the rest of the things in our lives: "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). In your life, put God first, and he will take care of "all these things." Follow David's example: make God the "one thing" you need. That way, you won't be so busy working for God that you never spend any time with God.
In Exodus 20:3-5, God gives Israel this command: "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God."
It is easy to label an idol as some wooden or bronze statue, or a golden cow, or something else like that. And certainly, such things could be idols; however, an idol is much more than that. An idol is anything you put in front of God.
Ezekiel 14:3 says that "men have set up idols in their hearts," meaning that their internal priorities are wrong. Today, although probably very few people in Western culture still bow down to statues or other such physical idols, many people bow down to idols "in their hearts."
For example, money and status are things that we often place ahead of God. However, God is "a jealous God," and He demands first place in your life. Therefore, take to heart the instruction found in 1 John 5:21: "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols."
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