Many years ago, a good friend of mine had a life change…he rededicated his life to God. His life prior to that was a very socially driven one; he would regularly frequent the local club on Thursday nights. He enjoyed the atmosphere that was specifically designed to attract women and, though he was married, there was something exciting about dancing and flirting with women whom he hardly knew.
Sometime after his re-encounter with God, he decided to go visit that local club one Thursday night after being away for a while. There was no harm intended…as a matter of fact, he was filled with a new passion for his visit. No longer was he desiring the social activity, but rather to share his refreshed relationship with God to many of the patrons whom he had become familiar with over the years.
But soon after his visit he found himself in a very awkward position. With all intention of doing good, he realized that he was being drawn to the old feelings and behaviors that dominated his life previously. He was quickly drifting away from sharing his faith and succumbing to his old flirty ways and interests. He caught himself and exited the club quickly, feeling disappointed for his thoughts and behaviors.
I love the leadership of King Hezekiah…he’s one of my favorites. He was considered the most righteous king that Judah ever had, and was responsible for bringing an entire nation back to the worship of the one true God. What was his secret? A major part of his success was his religious reforms.
During Hezekiah’s reign as king, he removed altars, smashed sacred stones, cut down Asherah poles, and destroyed all of the high places and altars throughout the land. In summary, anything that opposed the glorification of the one true God was eliminated…no more idols of pagan gods. Like my friend, he realized that a vibrant relationship with God couldn’t survive the atmosphere he was surrounding himself with.
Today’s society may not be filled with altars and Asherah poles, but it is filled with idols. One of the definitions of an idol is a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered. As we think about it, there’s many things in our lives that fall into that category. Our lives are unbalanced because of the idols we worship without even realizing it.
Whenever we focus or prioritize something or someone above God, we’ve made an idol. For some it’s our money, for others it’s our kids, and for many it’s our material stuff. There’s not a problem having ‘stuff’ as long as the ‘stuff’ doesn’t have you.
And sometimes, though not necessarily an idol, the company we keep can be a great hindrance to the change God desires to make in our lives. There are some friends or acquaintances that we may have to reduce or eliminate our time and energy with. Like Hezekiah, the ridding of distractions away from God was the key to a transformed nation. If we want a transformed life, we’ll have to do the same…we must clean house.
Just for clarity, deprioritizing or eliminating a relationship with someone doesn’t mean that you hate them. It simply means that you love God enough to take action in ensuring that an unhealthy relationship doesn’t hinder you. We’re called to love people, but that love should never posture us in a place that jeopardizes our relationship with God.
So, as you read this, what relationships or idols come to mind? What are the areas of your life that God have taken a back seat to? What unhealthy relationships do you need to deprioritize? Whatever they are, just remember that you have the power and presence of God to help you make the necessary choices that honor Him. And whatever you do, do it in love.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and be blessed!