17 Sep What Do You Love? And, What Do You Trust?
What do you love? And, what do you trust?
Those are the two questions I posed to Calvary last Sunday when the sermon led us to think about idolatry and in particular, our own personal idolatries. The first of the Ten Commandments is, “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) God is speaking here, of course, and this commandment asks us to do two things: turn away from our idols and love God whole-heartedly. We can’t do the latter without doing the former.
“Idolatry” is such an old and churchy-sounding word that it doesn’t resonate very much with us today. It’s tempting, therefore, to write-off the first commandment because we assume that idolatry is a thing of the past. But the truth is that idolatry is alive and well, and we often serve exactly the same gods as the ancient Israelites: money, power and sex. Behind all the lesser gods we serve (greed, materialism, control, excessive work or entertainment….the list is nearly endless) is the supreme deity of our times: the self. If you doubt this, a revealing exercise is to take a close look at your calendar and your bank statement/Visa card bill. How much of your time and money is invested in yourself and your family and how much is invested in those who are disadvantaged and from whom you will receive nothing in return? It’s sobering to see the truth in black and white.
But, that is the very point (and the Good News) of the commandments! We can’t be free if we never face the truth that we’re enslaved: enslaved to self, enslaved to meeting others’ expectations, enslaved to fear or doubt, enslaved to pursuing “success,” however you define it. The Ten Commandments are not another layer of expectations for us to meet, another list of rules for us to keep. They are a picture of what life looks like for those who are free –for those who have been liberated from the patterns of thinking and acting that sabotage and destroy us and everyone around us. So, as we think about the Ten Commandments, rather than begrudgingly asking, “What do I have to do? Or How far do I have to go?” a better question is, “How free am I willing to be?”
Yours for the Kingdom,