Is your view of life influenced by your own idols and speculations? Of course it is. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Depends on if it blinds you. ♦
A father gets on a plane for another day trip across the state for a very important business meeting. He’s sad that he’s missing his son’s soccer game, but as he tells his wife, “I have to do what I have to do.” He assures her that if he wins the deal and hits his sales quota that quarter, he’ll take the family on a ski trip.
A young woman volunteers to coordinate the Neighborhood Cleanup Day event run by her local church. Though she’s exhausted working her 50-hour per week day-job at the law firm, she finds extra time in the evening and weekends contributing to a good cause to help beautify her hometown while sharing Christian love through community service.
A mother of three children struggles to get the kids to pre-school and daycare at her gym so she can make it to her bi-weekly, cycling class. She feels bad that she had to stop attending her weekly woman’s Bible Study group. She couldn’t keep up with completing the lessons and so decided she’d just try to study on her own at home. If she could ever find the time.
The college student was proud of his involvement in the downtown March Against Injustice last weekend. As a spiritual young man who rejects formal religion after years of “mass indoctrination” through his Catholic upbringing, he is confident and bold in his quest to help his fellow man in causes that support the less-fortunate and the environment.
All of these four scenarios showcase various decisions, priorities, even idols, reflecting various opinions, perspectives, even speculations.
What about your own life? Is your view of life influenced by your own idols and speculations? Of course it is.
Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. It depends on if it blinds you.
The Bible, Idols, and Speculations
The Bible has plenty to say about idols and speculations. Idols, in the modern context that I am calling out, is not referring to pagan altars to Baal or Asherah Poles, but rather “those things or persons,” per Webster’s Dictionary, “that are greatly loved, cherished, or even revered.” Speculations involve our own point of view that makes sense to us personally, or per Webster, “the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence.” In this modern context, it is those things that we believe as rational in our own minds, not necessarily in the mind of God.
If you think about this for even a moment you will conclude that each of us are full of common daily idols: work, money, family, vacations, exercise, church, community, service, causes of any sort. No judgment, just reality – there are many things in our lives that we cherish and focus on…alot.
Same with our opinions or speculations:
- Money solves relationship pain
- Children like rewards more than attention
- Church volunteer work is always a good trade-off
- Community service expresses Christian love
- Mothers should do it all
- Group Bible Study is ideal
- Being “spiritual” is better than “religious”
- Helping the less-fortunate and the environment is a higher ideal than loving God.
Are there correct views or worthy idols? Put simply, any idea, opinion, and/or loved item or notion springing from our own imagination apart from God (Spirit and Scripture) is potentially speculative and at risk of becoming idolatrous.
Wow. Doesn’t leave us much room to move, does it? Sure it does. Let’s reconsider our four scenarios.
Walking with God
Let’s revisit the four scenarios presented above and apply Godly input for their situation:
- The Hardworking Father – this man is not a bad man, or even a workaholic, just a busy man like any of us workers in the hard-charging business world. He does need to get it done to keep his job, and there will invariably be sacrifices and occasional missed-children events. I would suggest that the answer is not a guilt-gift-reward, but rather an opportunity to sit down with his wife and kids and explain deadlines, choices and obligations, and pray with them for wisdom, favor, and blessings at work and for their family. Imagine what that kind of Godly modeling will communicate to his young son.
- The Young Woman Volunteer – she means well and has her heart in the right place, but should consider what God would really have her do. Many of us volunteer and “serve” out of Christian guilt, not out of God/Holy Spirit-led conviction, gifting, and wiring. She’d do well to submit herself to deep soul-searching prayer that relinquishes full control of her heart, mind, and spirit not just for her “service” orientation, but even her work at the law firm. Surrendering her full life to God (in and out of work) for His use and purpose means letting go of her personal control, pride and agenda.
- The Mother with Three Children – young Christian mothers have the toughest life as the time demands are tremendous and they miss the quiet times of prayer and Bible study. And they do need their exercise. They do best to “Let it Go” and trust the season will soon pass and their little ones will be off to school one day, first for 1/2 a day, then a full day, then out of the house completely. Woe to you on that day! Cherish the moments, love your Lord God, pray and praise unceasingly with and without your children. Your husband and children will bless you (one day!) and call you blessed.
- The College Student – this well-intentioned young man is finding his way as we all must. While his parents may be praying that he return to the faith of his youth, he and they both should better yet be on their knees asking God to direct/redirect such a spirited and giving heart to the real and necessary purposes of God on this earth. Even Jesus didn’t feed and heal every person. He had other Kingdom purposes that went way beyond the mundane problems of his community. Likewise we are His hands and feet wired for purposes that come to us not opportunistically or even altruistically, but directly by the Spirit of the Living God, if we are open to receive it.
So, life in the modern day need not be superficial or selfishly worldly. Rather, the life submitted deliberately before God can be rich beyond measure.
Are you blinded by idols and human speculation?
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ… – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5