They made idols for themselves. (Hosea 8:4)
Hosea 8:4-7, 11-13;Psalm 115:3-10; Matthew 9:32-38
Ornately carved dragons, stoic Buddhas, calves, bulls, even human forms with animal heads—the ancient world offered an extraordinary variety of idols. Today, we’re more likely to treat athletes, rock stars, or luxury cars as idols. But in the end, an idol is anything that we allow to influence our thoughts, emotions, and actions more than it should. Perhaps the Pharisees who opposed Jesus idolized their own narrow observance of Judaism. So when Jesus came neither looking nor acting as they thought he should, they plotted against him.
Here’s the thing about idols: they’re tricky. They can have great sway over us, yet not appear as idols at all! But if something erodes your peace, causes your heart to tremble, or drives rational thoughts from your head, there’s probably some kind of idolatry behind it.
That’s not to say that we’re all idolaters who willingly and greedily bow down to the modern world’s false gods. It’s hard to find someone who “worships” money or someone who is truly “obsessed” with gaining power. Still, if the everyday ups and downs of the stock market send you into a panic or if the slightest tickle in your throat brings on visions of a fatal illness, then something has a greater hold on you than it should.
It doesn’t have to be this way! Nothing has to rob you of your peace or your trust in the Lord. If you can get into the habit of guarding and examining your thoughts during the day, you’ll find yourself more peaceful. Just try to be aware of the thoughts that grip your imagination, and see where they lead you. Don’t engage in a witch hunt; just take a look at what goes on inside of you. If the thoughts are making you more agitated or more self-focused, try to redirect them.
For example, tell yourself, “God holds my life in his hand, and nothing can snatch me away.” Or “God is a God of hope; I know he can satisfy the longings of my heart.” Where you find fear or gridlock in your heart, take it to your heavenly Father. Remember that he sent his Son to give you freedom and peace!
“Jesus, you are the one true God! Teach me how to find my hope in you. Lord, I want to know the peace that comes from surrendering to you.”~WAU