Friday, June 19, 2009
Discerning Idolatry in Desire
12 Ways to Recognize the Rise of Covetousness
June 17, 2009 By John Piper
Read this article on our website.
Most of us realize that enjoying anything other than God, from the best gift to the basest pleasure, can become idolatry. Paul says in Colossians 3:5, “Covetousness is idolatry.”
“Covetousness” means desiring something other than God in the wrong way. But what does that mean—“in the wrong way”?
The reason this matters is both vertical and horizontal. Idolatry will destroy our relationship with God. And it will destroy our relationships with people.
All human relational problems—from marriage and family to friendship to neighbors to classmates to colleagues—all of them are rooted in various forms of idolatry, that is, wanting things other than God in wrong ways.
So here is my effort to think biblically about what those wrong ways are. What makes an enjoyment idolatrous? What turns a desire into covetousness, which is idolatry?
1. Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it is forbidden by God. For example, adultery and fornication and stealing and lying are forbidden by God. Some people at some times feel that these are pleasurable, or else we would not do them. No one sins out of duty. But such pleasure is a sign of idolatry.
2. Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it is disproportionate to the worth of what is desired. Great desire for non-great things is a sign that we are beginning to make those things idols.
3. Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it is not permeated with gratitude. When our enjoyment of something tends to make us not think of God, it is moving toward idolatry. But if the enjoyment gives rise to the feeling of gratefulness to God, we are being protected from idolatry. The grateful feeling that we don’t deserve this gift or this enjoyment, but have it freely from God’s grace, is evidence that idolatry is being checked.
4. Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it draws us away from our duties. When we find ourselves spending time pursuing an enjoyment, knowing that other things, or people, should be getting our attention, we are moving into idolatry.
5. Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it is not working a deeper capacity for holy delight. We are sinners still. It is idolatrous to be content with sin. So we desire transformation. Some enjoyments shrink our capacities of holy joy. Others enlarge them. Some go either way, depending on how we think about them. When we don’t care if an enjoyment is making us more holy, we are moving into idolatry.
6. Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when its loss ruins our trust in the goodness of God. There can be sorrow at loss without being idolatrous. But when the sorrow threatens our confidence in God, it signals that the thing lost was becoming an idol.
For myself and for you, I pray the admonition of 1 John 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
We are so thankful that God has entrusted us with you for this time.
Here's my song for you:
(To the tune of You Are My Sunshine)
You are my Evie,
My only Evie,
And I am happy,
That God made you.
And my prayer for you,
Is that you will grow,
And learn to love God
With all of your heart!
We love you, Little Lady!
This evening Shane and I were standing in the Living Room talking and hugging. Wiley was in his high chair finishing his dinner. He looked up and said, "Are ya'll getting married?" (Too funny! Not sure why he asked this since he often sees us hugging like this.)
While making Wiley a sandwich, he pointed at something on the peanut butter jar and asked, "What's that?" I replied, "Peter Pan. This is Peter Pan peanut butter." Wiley asked, "Where's the Captain Hook pea-ut budder?"
Monday, June 15, 2009
So the PS Guy and I were working on counting today. He does really well up until around 14 and then he gets it all mixed up. I was counting for him and when I got to ten, I slowed down and clearly pronounced each number. When I got to 20 I stopped and looked at Wiley. He smiled and said, "Ready or not, here I come." (Silly me! I guess hide and go seek is the only reason a kid needs to learn to count :)
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wiley - "I don't know what I'd like to play with you. Maybe something fun. Maybe a game, or balls, or a game, or soccer, or football, or basketball..."
(No wonder it takes forever to play.)
* "Mommy, I'm playing hockey- scos" (hopscotch)
* While playing grocery store, Wiley was the grocer and I was shopping. The time before, I had his Curious George doll with me pretending it was my baby. It wasn't with me this time so he asked where my baby was. I told him he was at home with his daddy.
Wiley said, "I'll go see him."
To which I replied, "You can't. You don't know where I live."
Wiley, "Where do you live?"
Me, "I'm not telling you. You're a stranger."
Wiley, "No. I'm the Piggly Wiggly guy!"
(For those of you who don't have them, Piggly Wiggly (or "Pig-a Willy" as Wiley says it) is the name of one of our local grocery stores.)
The other day Wiley woke up from his nap and came into the room where Evie and I were. He was still a bit sleepy so he lay down on the couch and asked if Evie could lay beside him (he loves when I let them do this). So I put Evie beside him and they just lay there together. Wiley gave a huge smile and said, We're laying beside each other!"
I knew joyous moments as a mother of one, but none of those moments for me even begin to compare to the moments like this when my two children are sharing a moment of love together and I get to see it! I had no idea how special these moments are!!!!
Thank you God for the gift of having a sibling that you have given to our kids. I pray they would always love one another deeply and put the needs and desires of the other before themselves. May they be each other's best friend! Amen.