Are You Being Shaped by the Savior or Warped by the World?
By Brent Rinehart
“But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them” (Psalm 115: 4-8).
I live in a rural area with a lot of trees. As a result, I’m constantly picking up sticks and limbs on my property. When we moved there, one of my first purchases was a steel “burn cage,” so I can safely burn debris without burning my house down! It is specially designed to allow the right amount of air for the fire to get extremely hot – to incinerate its contents to a fine ash powder. Over time, the weather and extreme heat of these repeated fires has caused the cage to rust and warp.
Heat is an amazing thing. On one hand, artisans use it to shape objects into pieces of art. At the same time, it can melt the same material into something unrecognizable. The same heat can be used to shape, or it can be left unattended to warp.
What about us? The Bible says “we are the clay, and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
God created us for a purpose – to bring Him glory. And, while we are here on earth, we should be continually growing more and more like Christ – being conformed to His image (Romans 8:29). But, for many of us, something holds us back. The fact is this: we become like what we worship. We begin to resemble the things in our lives that we focus our attention on.
We may not think we erect idols since we don’t have golden statues in our homes or prostrate ourselves in front of objects. An idol is anything that takes our focus off God; it is anything that takes priority in our lives over Jesus.
For some, a love of money or success drives us to make work our top priority. For others, pleasure becomes an idol, as our lives revolve around chasing things that make us happy. Children are an idol for some, as they give family preeminence. Others of us worship politics, constantly feeding on cable news and letting our lives be shaped by our emotions. None of these things are inherently bad. But, just like heat, when they take the place of Christ, they will become like idols and warp us.
The Bible says In Psalm 115 that we ultimately become like what we worship. The warning here is that worshipping other things will make you as lifeless as the subject of your adoration. Worshipping things other than God will leave us empty. Over time, we will God’s presence in our lives will become smaller and smaller. As the world becomes brighter, the things of God – namely His voice – will become fainter.
We talk to our kids constantly about influences in their lives. We tell them to choose their friends wisely, because your friends will influence you, for good or bad. Famous motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said that you are the average of your five closest friends. You will ultimately become like the people you hang around the most.
God demands – and is worthy of – our full devotion. If we want to become like Christ, we have to spend time with Him. We have a choice here. We can either allow ourselves to be warped by the things of this world, or we can choose to be shaped by our Savior.
When we allow anything or anyone to take His rightful place, we surrender our own opportunity for the fulfilling life He designed for us. We become more like creation and less like the Creator. And, we lose our ability to fulfill one of our highest callings – sharing with others about Christ. Worshipping things other than Christ renders us ineffective messengers: we “have mouths, but cannot speak,” eyes, but cannot see,” “ears, but cannot hear,” and “feet, but cannot walk, nor can [we] utter a sound with [our] throats.”
Intersecting Faith and Life:
- Are you being shaped by the Savior or warped by the world?
- Are there any areas of your life that have taken the place that should be occupied by God?
- What practical changes can I make in my lifestyle to put God first?
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/aapsky
Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at www.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @brentrinehart