The Idol Of Self

We see it in the whines of a little boy, We see it in the entitlement of the teenager, you see it in the needless argument of married couples over something unimportant, and we see it in the bitterness of a old man. None of us has escaped this disease. It infects all of our hearts. It is the reason for so much of the brokenness, anger, and pain in the human community. It is the foundation of so much unhappiness and generations of war. It is a personal and moral disaster, yet it seduces us all. It’s power draws all of us in. We see it in others and deny it in ourselves. It makes for uncomfortable family moments, friendship disloyalty and violence in the streets. It makes us envious and demanding. It causes discontent to be more natural that thankfulness. It ruins our vacations and holidays. It makes us spend ourselves into hopeless debt, to fall into paralyzing addiction, and to eat more then we ever should. It turns siblings on siblings and makes war-making more natural than peacemaking.

What is this thing the kidnaps us all? It is the selfishness of sin. The idol of idols really is the idol of self. We make it all about us. We put ourselves in the center of the story. We evaluate life from the vantage point of a scary and tragic “me-ism.” We pull the borders of our concerns into the narrow confines of what we want, what we feel, what we dream, and what we think we need. A good day is a day that is pleasurable and easy for me. A good circumstance is one in which I get my way. A good marriage is one in which my spouse becomes a servant to my dream for my life. A good church has the worship, programs, and preaching that satisfy me. A good job is one that keeps me happy and engaged. It is a life shaped by a shrunken kingdom of one.

But the first four words of the Bible confront us with the inescapable reality that it is not all about us. They confront us with the truth that life comes from, is controlled by, and exists for another. We will never be at the center because God is. It will never be about us because it’s about Him. Our will won’t be done because His kingdom will. Life will not submit to us because ultimately all things will submit to Him. He is at center stage. He is the spotlight character. Life is not found in putting ourselves at the center. That only leads to disfunction, disappointment, and brokenness. Jesus came to decimate our misplaced loyalty so that we would find freedom from bondage to ourselves and know the peace that passes understanding. Adam and Eve’s rebellion becomes our delusion, and for that there is rescuing grace.

Amos 6:1-9

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