Jonah 2:8

“Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.”

Idols.

Hang ups.

Addictions.

Struggles.

Habits.

We think that idols are these terrible things that take our eyes off of the Lord and yes, they are. What I have learned in the last few weeks, especially, is that idols can be things we see as good, that still take our eyes off of the Lord. I want to explore both.

During the lent season, I took it very seriously this year. I looked at something that was a crutch, a place of comfort, that was outside of Jesus and decided to let it go for 49 days. For me, that crutch, was soda. It seems typical and even ridiculous to get rid of something so trivial, but for me, this was not some easy thing. This has been an area of my life that has been a stronghold for many years. I go to soda when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m bored, on the way to work, in the afternoon for a pick me up, etc. When I let go of it, I realized I was utilizing the activity of getting a soda and the drinking of the soda as a sort of self medication. When I did not have that to fall back on I honestly got cranky and even angry at one point, texting my husband “if I could only grab a Dr. Pepper, this day would be fine…”

Conviction.

How many times had I been self medicating an issue that really needed to be given to the Lord. Why in the world did I ever think that a bubbly sugar filled beverage could suffice, instead of the Living Word of God, his presence and the help of the Holy Spirit? So, for 49 days I trek away at this raw place of vulnerable trust in the Lord, not my sad habit of swallowing my issues down with a gulp of soda.

In Jonah, chapter 2 verse 8, (in the message it reads) Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love.

God frauds. Isn’t that exactly what our idols are? Things we go to instead of Christ. Maybe its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Maybe it is food and beverage. Maybe it is pornography (yes, women deal with this, not just men). Maybe it is an obsession with perfection. Maybe it is pinterest and having all the latest, trendiest accessories and outfits, crafts, recipes and perfect home. I don’t know what your hang up is or the thing that you go to when you need a lift, but if you aren’t headed to the cross first, then you aren’t actually getting all God has for you.

We walk away from our only true love, it states. When we choose things, even simple things, above the Lord, we are making the ultimate choice, to walk away from our true love. He is pure. He is true, steadfast and sustaining. Why would we forfeit the grace that could be ours because we want/need this instant gratification. I challenge you to do the hard thing. Put down the remote, the phone, the soda, the habit and DRAW NEAR to the Father. Be honest with your dealings and just lay it all out there for Him to help you and meet you where you are at with his saving grace, his perfect plan and the means to conquer that stronghold.

May we never forget how dear we are to him, that he would love us through each season, each up and down. Cling to his grace as you unclench the idols you are holding on to today.