Those who cling to worthless idols [forfeit the grace that could be theirs] turn away from God’s love for them…Salvation comes from the LORD. – Jonah 2:8-9
What might you, what might I, be clinging to as worthless idols? What is that something that we may be clinging to on which we base our identity or our security or our happiness or our purpose?
For most of us, in our current times, our idols probably do not look like the idols of ancient pagan worship or superstitious practices. Although, they certainly could.
More likely, our idol may be our need to gain wealth for wealth’s sake, well beyond our need and well beyond our giving. Our idol may be our desire to gather material evidence (things and stuff), from cars to collectibles, as a display of our financial strength or our depth of focused interest and expertise. Our idol may be having, and making others aware of, the various experiences we’ve had or the higher educational degrees we’ve earned. Our idol may be the need to exert our power over others – blatantly or subtly, cruelly or manipulatively – to keep our identity as the one to be respected, as the one in authority. Our idols may not even be clearly recognized by us, but we still cling to them. These idols are often held onto as unhealthy, imbalanced identities of ourselves such as: seeing ourselves always as a victim of hurts and handicaps, circumstances and choices (made by others, of course); or as a martyr, constantly sacrificing our personal wants and needs (but without the joy in the giving); or as the smart one or the beautiful one, as the cool one or the popular one; or as the ever-happy talker who needs to be the life of the party, the center of attention; or as the introverted recluse who chooses to hide in his own thoughts and solo-activities, not engaging with others – partly out of timidity, partly out of apathy; or as the wise and wonderful super-hero who always has just the right words and right ways to help others, but is unwilling to show any personal vulnerability.
We each need to invite God into our hearts and minds to help us recognize and acknowledge any and every idol to which we may be clinging. We need to ask God for His loving, purifying, strength-giving help to tear down and rip away these idols that truly bring nothing to our lives. All idols only warp and ruin, diminish and destroy – in our own eyes and in the eyes of others – our true identity as a child of God and the eternal security we have in Jesus Christ our Lord.
If we are clinging to anything other than the Lord our God who loves us, if we are clinging to anything other than the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ alone, then we are clinging to worthless idols. And it just isn’t worth it!
Nothing is worth forfeiting the grace of our Lord. Nothing. It is our Holy, Loving Lord who alone gives us life, now and for all eternity. It is our Holy, Loving Lord who alone gives us our true identity, true love, true joy, true peace, true wisdom, true healing, true strength, true security, true riches and true honor.
Clinging onto our Lord, and allowing our Lord to cling onto us, is the only way to know and live in God’s loving, transforming grace! Don’t ever forfeit that! God’s grace is life itself!