I’ve been challenged by the overwhelming amount of idols in my life. A devotion was talking about how believers in Africa will go out of their homes and walk to a garden or other specified area to pray every day. After a while, the person will wear a path on the way to their prayer place. But if a person stopped going to their prayer place to meet with God, their path would naturally start growing grass back where it was once worn. As a form of rebuke between believers, one believer may say to another “Is grass growing on your path?”
Then it posed the question “Is there grass growing in YOUR path?” And the other question was “And where are you going so much that you are wearing a path down?” In other words, am I wearing a path to my computer? to my TV? to my hobbies? even to church – but letting grass grow on my path that leads me to time alone with the Lord? Am I seeking the Lord above all else, or am I seeking everything else above the Lord?
Idols are everywhere and can take the form of anything. Anything that takes our eyes off of the One who gives abundant life.
I’ve been slapped in the face with a few of these over the past couple of months – and when I’ve given things up, I’ve seen just how much of a hold on me they have had. It’s kinda scary, really. Just an example: I gave up Facebook and Blogging for a while – and I realized just how much I was caring about other’s acceptance/approval and opinions about me. umm…ridiculous! I never really thought I cared… I also realized what I was really doing – avoiding my Lord. And for the first week – it was scary just how much I thought about getting on the computer. seriously? I really had no idea how much it affected me. But as time went on, and I spent more time with Jesus, and more time doing things that really mattered, the less I cared about it. Amazing.
I’ve been kicked in the gut about the true cost of discipleship. I am reading a book called “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He definitely doesn’t pull any punches, walk around on eggshells, or do anything else cliche’. I’ll post on this one later, but let me just say this: we try to read between the lines in our Bibles so much that we more times than not convince ourselves that Jesus is saying something entirely different than what he actually said. I have been challenged for 2 years now about that – and I have been seeking out what being a disciple should REALLY look like. The more I read Scripture, the more unsettled I become about our part in the American Church – and how it doesn’t seem to line up with Scripture. We are willing to change, but lack vision and wisdom, I suppose…as well as a definite calling.
I am seeking that out, and this is one of the ways that the Lord is showing us the very delicate balance between living in America and being a disciple of Jesus…so that we aren’t vomited out of Jesus’ mouth when we finish up our time on earth. But sometimes it just feels like a dagger in the gut to NOT ride the fence. Dying to self. Discipleship. It isn’t as easy as our pastors make it sound. It costs us everything.