Thursday, September 17, 2009

American Idols – Part II

In my last article on this subject I went after two primary American Idols. And idol is something other than God that we put our trust in. The point I was making is that I have been to several different countries, many of them known for their idolatry. In these countries, the idolatry is obvious, with shrines and graven images being displayed all over the place. I have heard the condescension in the voices of “enlightened” people here in the West as they roll their eyes in disgust at the heinous idolatry of the people of India and their 300 million “gods” and goddesses”.

But are we just as idolatrous?

I believe that while we here in the “enlightened” west are in fact VERY idolatrous, our idols are just not as obvious. We serve gods (world rulers in fact) like Mammon & Self. We have placed our marriages, our families, our callings and eternal destinies on the altars of Mammon and aborted millions of innocent babies on the altar of Self. And we do so with the greatest of confessions. Many a family and marriage has been destroyed to the mantra of “I’m just trying to be a good provider, giving my family what they deserve”. Many a baby has been aborted to the mantra of “they wouldn’t have had a good life anyway, with their mom being so young/poor, etc.”


Concerning Money and Mammon, Jesus was very clear that our primary pursuit was NOT to be our personal welfare and the accumulation of material things but rather the pursuit of an invisible kingdom and the King Himself!

“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” Matthew 6:33

We were created to pursue a Kingdom and a King! That is our primary purpose, our ultimate pursuit. God knows how He made us and gave us strict marching orders to go after His Kingdom and His righteousness and NOT the necessities of life! Isn’t that bizarre? This isn’t license to the lazy to do nothing because the Bible goes on to say,

“For while we were yet with you, we gave you this rule and charge: If anyone will not work, neither let him eat.” II Thessalonians 3:10

No, this command of Jesus was for the type “A” personality, the go-getters and the “doers” of the Word. The Lord’s commandment to “seek FIRST the Kingdom and His righteousness” was more of a direction or marching orders for productive people. He’s aiming us in the right direction, telling us to go after Him FIRST. If we would pursue Jesus and His Kingdom FIRST, then the provision for our daily bread would manifest MUCH easier. Imagine the words of Wisdom and direction you would receive as you lingered in the Presence of the Lord before work in the morning. Imagine the peace and ease that you would carry into your workplace and career as you became more conscious of Him than your circumstances and limitations y spending time with Him every day. Sales would come easier, the pressure would be off and you would soar in your career, working and providing for you and your family without pressure, fear or guilt. Your priorities would be in order and you would rest well knowing that you are RIGHT.

People, our #1 priority is to pursue the King and His Kingdom. That means what it means. Seek God FIRST, not your paycheck. The same devotion that you pay towards your career, your education and the betterment of your financial standing, invest that in God. The promise is wonderful! IF we will seek Him FIRST, He will GIVE unto us ALL that we need!


When we’re talking about seeking FIRST His Kingdom and His righteousness, what are we talking about? We’re talking about the actual pursuit of God, but FIRST! So, how do you pursue God first? Make Him your #1 priority of your everyday life by seeking Him FIRST! Complicated, isn’t it? Practically speaking this means that we spend time with the Lord in worship, prayer and the Word at the start of our day. I’m not advocating a “quiet time” where we give the Lord a small slice of our day and then ignore Him the rest of the day, but I am saying that we make Him a priority and pursue Him FIRST. Turn on the worship music, lay down on the couch or floor with your family and worship God together! Read the Bible and seek Him in the Word, feeding on His Presence and His words, they are life! (John 6:63)


Jesus came walking the earth preaching a foreign message to the self-absorbed inhabitants of this planet. He said things like,

“For whoever wants to save his [higher, spiritual, eternal] life, will lose it [the lower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth]; and whoever gives up his life [which is lived only on earth] for My sake and the Gospel's will save it [his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God].” Mark 8:35

He told people that if you held on to preserve your own life you would be guaranteed to LOSE it! But more incredibly, the way He prescribes to save and preserve is to GIVE IT AWAY for His sake! This Kingdom is an upside down Kingdom! Save it and you lose it or lose it and you save it!

The problem with Christians is we simply don’t believe that. We are vainly attempting to preserve our lives, our families, our schedules and our money all with the hope of saving ourselves and the ones we love. Yet we are losing our marriages, losing our families and losing our fortunes. Our kids grow up and don’t serve the Lord. We’re disillusioned with church, in debt up to our eyes and bitter against our spouses. Why? Jesus told us why! He said that if you would seek to save your lives you WOULD LOSE IT! Yet we spend our entire Christian lives trying to prove Him wrong!

The answer to our American dilemma is VERY simple: count your lives as nothing and LOSE them for His sake and you will FIND them! Consistently, the happiest people I have ever met with the most solid marriages and families are the ones that have completely LOST their lives in service unto the Lord.

They have less money because they give what they have and sow into the Kingdom, yet somehow they are always a conduit through which blessing flows and they seem to have more than the person that withholds their fortunes and loses their life savings in investments or the stock market. Kingdom economics; give and it comes back!

They have less “free” time than their self-preserving friends, committing large portions of their lives to the work of the Gospel and laid down service unto others yet they have a superior “quality” of time, free of bickering, anger and animosity within their marriages and families. They might spend a good amount of time helping others through “crisis” but for themselves, they spend much less time on “crisis” control within their own homes.

Their marriages and families are stronger, yet they spend less time & money on them than their self-serving friends. Many of them have never seen the inside of a counselor’s office, yet daily walk in healthy marriage principles. Their kids are better behaved and well adjusted because Mom and Dad discipline according to what they read in the Bible! Their kids also stick with a Jesus they KNOW on a daily basis in the home and not just one they hear about every once in a blue moon at church.

Jesus is right folks! Give your lives away for His sake and you will TRULY find them.


In the Kingdom you GIVE and it COMES BACK! That means that practically we have to give ourselves, our time, our money, our service and our lives for the sake of the Gospel.

Invest your wealth IN THE KINGDOM and not only in this world and its resources. Give to the poor, give to your church and really invest, expecting a return as you would a popular stock or investment scheme. The Kingdom is a good investment!

Invest your time IN THE KINGDOM and not only on your personal, vain pursuits and self interests. This means that you willingly GIVE your time to benefit others! Preach the Gospel, heal the sick and raise the dead! It is ALWAYS good time to preach the Gospel. Offer your lives as a living sacrifice to God as you lay down your life for your friends.

So we’ve just touched on two common American idols, but are there more?

You bet.


Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Hope you don't mind me reissuing this one.
It really is the same territory as my Ghanaian now London friend Michael Hammond.

Todd Dawalt said...

Here is an American idol for you: Heaven.
Many people sing songs, preach sermons and think about heaven more than they do about God. The way I see it, heaven is no different than Nebraska...part of God's creation, and not something we are instructed to praise.