What a joy it is to have a personal relationship with our wonderful Lord, but sometimes we allow idols of our hearts to break our fellowship with Him, and He refuses to listen to our prayers.
Read Ezekiel 14:1-8. What an enlightening portion of Scripture. A group of elders went to Ezekiel to ask God for something. These elders seem to be questioning Ezekiel’s authority with God. Ezekiel sees deep into their hearts and sees their idols of self-will and unsubmissiveness and tells them that God will not listen to their requests because of these idols.
Ladies, the same thing can happen to us. When we allow idols to develop in our hearts, God will not hear our prayers. What are some of the idols that can develop in our hearts?
Pride: Isaiah 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
Pride can manifest itself in many different ways. Disobedience to authority is often a matter of pride. We don’t want anyone to tell us how to live or how to run our lives. We have our rights.
Physical Idols: Exodus 20:3-5a “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:…”
You may be inclined to say, “Oh, we don’t have any graven images in our homes.” Are you sure? A physical idol is anything that distracts you from focusing on God. A television can become a physical idol. You spend more time watching television than you do thinking about God. Other idols could be your job, your home, your telephone, your social networking, your car…anything you put between you and God becomes an idol.
Self: Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [food, shelter and clothing] shall be added unto you.”
When a person places his own needs and desires ahead of what the Lord wants, those needs and desires becomes idols. The major cause of conflict is when one person feels his desire has not been met. When other people fail to meet his desire, he fights harder to get his way. If he doesn’t get his desire met, that desire begins to control him, and it becomes an idol.
Entertainment: Colossians 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
Is all your entertainment God-honoring? Does it take all your time and money? Do you place things above serving and obeying God? You think nothing of spending $20.00 on a new DVD or CD, yet you refuse to put $20.00 in the offering when your Pastor asks for a special offering. You think nothing about spending your time doing what you want to do, but you don’t have time to send a card, check on a shut-in, or invite a lonely member to share a holiday with you.
Personal Opinions: Mark 7:8, 9, 13 “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”
The Pharisees made their own standards (opinions) into idols. They valued their own traditions above God’s laws. Many Christians allow their personal opinions dictate the way they interpret the Bible. They will not allow God or any Christian leader tell them anything.
Hatred and Bitterness: Ephesians 4:26, 27 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”
There are some people who must constantly be mad at someone or something. When a person harbors bitterness, it destroys him. If you are a person who struggles with the idol of bitterness, try sincerely praying for the other person that you are bitter against.
Fear and Worry: Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Fear is a type of pride. People hold onto their fears, because fear gives them comfort over what they can control. Fear keeps people from refusing to step out in faith and follow the Lord. Fear makes a person want to control his own life and not allow the Lord to be in control.
The following are two ways you can choose to deal with idols:
• Trust God and seek fulfillment in Him.
Psalms 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. (This is my life verse)
• Ask the Lord to help you and continue to grow spiritually no matter what anybody else does.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
• Continue to love and pray for the other person.
1 John 4:19-21 We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
• Seek the things of God. Place your desires and affections on things that will last for eternity. Live for Him and not for yourself.
Colossians 3:1-3 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
• Dwell on your disappointment.
• Allow your desires and disappointments to control your life.
• Allow self-pity and bitterness rule in your heart.
• Destroy your relationship with the people who disappointed you.
• Break fellowship with others and God.
The choice is up to you!