See Through (The Spectrum of Idolatry part 6)

"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." (James 1:5 NLT)

The first straw

Something I've had trouble with my whole life is looking at other Christians as more than what they were. When once I'd witness a brother or sister in Christ striding across the stage or boldly proclaiming the Word of God to those standing by or even performing miracles on unsuspecting onlookers (all legitimate, I can assure you), I would feel something akin to jealousy. I can distinctly remember feeling overawed at their composure and prowess and even things of selflessness like humility and joy and peace and love. All these things struck me as foreign and desirable. Desirable, yes. Foreign, no.

"But the hour now cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth." (John 4:23b-24)

Grasping at straw men

I remember once on the way to work thinking about Paul's statement "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). After explaining the polarities of what he'd gone through in service to God and the Gospel, he sews up his story with that statement. This is the point. But that morning, from thinking on that verse, I remember having gone off on a tangent that began with an initial thought that there were other Christians out there in the world who had done right by this verse (sounds innocent enough, right?). Who had appropriated it into their walk and didn't experience some of the handicaps as did (and do) I. And before I go any further, let me just say that they are gifts. But moving forward, I'm telling you that the latticework of thoughts I had built up around incorrectly thinking on Paul's declaration had effectively blocked me into a mental cage. My overthinking had prevented me from seeing a way out. Just when I began to think I had made some serious mistakes related to what I was going through at the time and that had prompted the weakness I felt led me to implore the power behind the verse in the first place, the Lord (Jesus) spoke to my heart and said "remember how I taught you" (italic His). And I got it. I suppose I should mention that the person on which I projected the ideal notion of "perfect Christian, successful and prosperous and without a trace of trouble" does not exist—at least not on this earth. If you look at someone that "nameth the name of Christ" (2 Timothy 2:19) and they aren't giving glory to God for being in the desirable state they are, they quite possibly might be leading people astray. But that's for God to judge and for me to pray and also not care about right now. When Jesus reminded me that morning of the curriculum He'd brought me through and how it tied into the way He made me (the way I'm wired), it cleared away the tangles in which I found myself.

"But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:" (1 Corinthians 1:30)

Referring again to the aforementioned real Christians, I have nothing but love and respect for them. But if I'm going to emulate someone I don't know and at present am unable to (everyone's so busy), then the Lord can't grow me up in the ways He would like. No doubt He uses others to rub off on us. But it's idolatry if I only want to listen to them instead of striking out on my own with God as my guide. And no doubt anyone truly following Christ would want you looking at Him as opposed to them for your life. I can't provide anything for you that you can't get from Him yourself.

Paul speaks again in Galatians (1:11-12): "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."

The very last straw

Take what you need from those that inspire you—Christian and non—but then show it to God for notarization. The gifts came from Him in the first place.

"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." (James 1:17 NLT)


Image and Likeness (The Spectrum of Idolatry part 5)