If you don't already know this, Bible study writer, Beth Moore has to be one of the most anointed human beings alive. Page after page she confronts readers with truths most of us would rather pretend unreal.
A few minutes ago I finished a lesson from Breaking Free that I started over a week ago.
Idolatry and the failure to destroy the "high places".
As a post-modern American, I've struggled with understanding this ancient sin. I can't recall seeing any alters built to worship some weird shaped piece of wood. That kind of stuff is only seen in primitive societies filmed by the National Geographic channel.
Then, idolatry was explained as "something I value more than God." Rich people owned by their money and expensive toys were the cliche example. Can't relate there! I'm barely middle-class American.
Sex, drugs and rock 'n roll weren't a problem for me either. So that means...
Beth Moore says in Week 9, Lesson 3 that anything that steals our focus becomes an idol. She goes on to say, "...the object of our imaginations itself is not always sin. The sin may lie solely in the exaltation of it in our own minds."
Now here's where it starts getting personal. "The enemy will capitalize on normal emotions of love or loss to swell them out of healthy proportion. They can consume our lives if we're not aware of his schemes."
So, when I obsess for DAYS over a missed note during a vocal performance or even a rejection from an editor, I'm engaging in the sin of idolatry. Eeek.
None of this means I can laugh off my errors. It's okay to recognize them; learn from them and adjust my performance. Sin happens when I put more effort and thought into thoughts of; "You Big Dummy - how could you? You had that song down cold! What made you think you could pull this off in public?" than I put thoughts into reaching into Scripture and bathing myself in the Truth of how God views me.
"Virtually anything that cheats you of what God has for you could be considered sin."
Um. Uh... well... um, (I'm pulling a Barak Obama here) does that mean when I succumb to "I don't feel like writing today", I'm sinning?
When I know with absolute certainty God called me to do something (write, take care of my knee, spend extra time with Kyle or John) and I choose to do otherwise, I'm elevating my own wants over God's. Idolatry.
"We easily view adultry, robbery, or murder as sin, but we often don't realize that sin can also be anything we allow to grow between us and the glorious completing work of God."
Procrastination, excuses - these all rack up as sin. Christian writers beware. Satan doesn't want our stories published. He doesn't even want them finished. He also doesn't have to work too hard to trip us up either. We can do that well enough on our own.
On the other hand, we can obsess about getting everything Just Right. We've all heard editors and agents rail on and on about how competitive the market is. Only the best of the best of the bestest will be considered.
Perfect plots, opening lines, grammatically pure prose - continuous thoughts of these things not taken captive to Christ can push out God. It's a matter of imbalance. Our time needs to be dominated by maintaining an open communication with God.
Beth doesn't let us out of that one with a pile of excuses about how busy we are. She suggests we maintain that Christ-centered consciousness by steeping ourselves in worship music as we rocket through our day. Make spending time in God's Word a priority (a hard one for me). Being able to strike up a conversation with Him in the middle of heavy traffic.
When that "stuff" exceeds the other "stuff" of our lives, we are avoiding idolatry through the power of our Great God.
Dang. This is gonna be tough.