Monday, June 09, 2008
Who or what do you worship?
Today, Kelley and I took a tour of Khon Kaen with Brian Firpo, who is the regional director of Campus Outreach Thailand. He wanted to give us a more intimate feel for the city and the culture. Each city in Thailand has a "holy place" that is revered and cherished by the people, so we visited there first, and later we ventured over to a Buddist temple. It was my first time being in any such place. To be honest the places were very beautiful, as you can see below, but they broke my heart as well. It blew me away to see people bowing down to idols, and offering up cries of hope to gods that cannot hear them, and will never faithfully meet their needs. Sadly, they pay for these prayers as well, hoping to somehow earn merit or good luck.
I began to think that open idol worship was one of the more heart wrenching things I had ever seen, but then God reminded me of my own heart, and I was quickly led to repentance. The Thai people may worship idols for all to see, but I have a tendency to worship idols that I can mask or temporarily hide. My job, success, the approval of others, my wife, my reputation, and financial comfort can all be things that I find life in and/or become more important to me than my worship of God. The Scriptures are very clear in several places like Psalm 115 and Romans 1 that our hearts are "idol factories" (as John Calvin puts it), and the wrath of God is to actually turn people over to their idols; to give them what they really want, which hardens and perverts the heart and mind. I don't know about you, but I want to make sure that I am constantly dismantling the idols of my heart by "putting off" the things that so easily entangle in this world, and "putting on" the character of God by allowing the Word of God to dwell in my heart richly (Col. 3:1-16). I want to encourage you to please examine your heart, as I examine my own, and ask the Lord if there is any grievous ways (idolatry) within our hearts. He has called us to pursue holiness, and constantly dismantling the idols of our hearts, by His grace, is definitely a big part of that. May you and I be a people that are not consumed with anything but the Glory of God!