Mike has been preaching about the Top 4 American Idols. This week he spoke about Family as an idol. This message was difficult for me because I realize that my family is an idol for me.
Luke 14:25-27 states:
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Mike explained that the word hate, when translated, actually means “love less”, such that Jesus was saying, If you don’t ‘love your family less than me….” Mike then explained that we often say, “I only want what is best for my family.” However, that is the problem because we should say, “God, I want what is best for your family.” When we say we want what is best for our family, we are focusing on what we want - we are being selfish, controlling, and prideful. Even with this explanation of the scripture, it is still difficult to apply to my life.
If you asked me before this sermon if my family was an idol in my life, I would insist that my family is not an idol. However, as the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Even though I insist that I trust God with my family, my actions prove otherwise. For example, I worry about whether Jacob should be in preschool, whether I am doing a disservice to my family by working outside the home, whether my children are being treated fairly by their friends, whether I have my kids involved in too many or too few activities, etc. I also try to control the outcome of my family’s lives. For example, the deepest desire of my heart is that my kids, my husband, my parents, and my family be happy. I often put pressure on myself to make events “perfect” so that my family can be happy. I think that if I can just convince my husband or my kids to change a few things about their lives, they will be happy. I actually think that I can control their happiness!
The problem with this is that it is a symptom of my pride. I never thought that I had a problem with pride, but I do. Although I say that I trust God to do what is best for my family, I believe in my heart that I not only know what is best for my family, but I believe that I can control my family to ensure that only the best things happen for my family.
C.S. Lewis wrote:
According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
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The Christians are right: it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or unchaste people. But pride always means enmity - it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.
Because of Mike’s sermon, I have realized that my desire that my family be “happy” is what I want for my family. I need to prayerfully ask God to forgive me for my pride, and I need to trust God with the family that he has blessed me to care for. I have learned that God did not put me on this Earth as an “owner” of my family, but I am instead entrusted to care for them and love them.
I would like to challenge each of you to prayerfully consider the idols that you may have in your life. In doing so, consider what your actions say about your idols, not just what you would tell others about idols in your life. Your idol may not be your family, but may be beauty, work, or something else. Ask God to show you your idols and to help you rid yourself of the idols that stand in between you and a closer relationship with God.