Faith

I couldn’t see God because of the idols in my life

by Bridget Lee // November 18, 2020, 6:19 pm

LOVE GOD ABOVE ANYTHING ELSE

I thought that they would just be like other artistes. I thought that I would just like them for their music. But humans are curious creatures. I wanted to find out more.

Watching an introduction video on them was just the beginning. The more I explored, the more content I realised there was for me to consume.

Soon, their songs weren’t the only thing I liked. I even downloaded Twitter to follow their updates.

In my second year in polytechnic, I started liking a Korean boy band.

This became a problem when my Quiet Time was replaced with watching funny videos of them. Even when I prayed, I couldn’t focus because my thoughts would gradually drift to my newfound interest.

I felt guilty every time I came before God, but I just kept being drawn back to it. This struggle went on for around six months until I received a vision from God.

Why is it so hard to have Quiet Time?

Convicted of the need to get rid of these idols in my life, I remembered praying fervently to God in church one day. That was when He showed me an image.

I was standing on a pathway with Jesus ahead of me, but I couldn’t see Him clearly. My view was blocked by the members of that boy band, who were all larger in size compared to Him.

The only way I could fix my eyes on Jesus again was if those idols were to decrease. At the same time, God reminded me of the ninth fruit of the spirit: self-control.

And so that’s what I did – I learnt what it meant to exercise self-control.

God helped me to resist the temptation.

I turned off the notification button on their social media account. Any free time I had was spent doing something else I liked, such as playing the piano or writing. I stopped looking out for their new posts every day. 

Around that time, my leaders at Navigators also encouraged us to follow a Bible study plan. From Mondays to Fridays, we would come together to share our takeaways at 8am.

This really helped train my discipline to restart a consistent Quiet Time.

It was hard for me to give up sleep, but it taught me the value of beginning the day with God instead of checking my social feed first thing in the morning.

Throughout the day, it was so easy to grab my phone to watch videos, especially when it was right next to me, but I decided to place it somewhere else. Out of sight, out of mind. 

God helped me to resist the temptation.

The Social Dilemma: A take from someone who’s come off social media

I still like the Korean boy band till this day. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with that. However, my attention has shifted towards things of more eternal value.

I no longer feel the need to stay updated or watch their videos. It’s not my priority anymore. 

In John 21:15, Jesus asks Simon Peter this question as he looks to reinstate him after Simon Peter denied Him three times. “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

Jesus doesn’t ask Peter to affirm his love once, but three times over the next three verses. 

While it has been debated whether “these” referred to the other disciples or his profession, “these” reminds me of the idols I had.

Once we begin loving other things in our life more than God, we run the risk of having an idol.

If Jesus were to ask you, “Do you love me more than these?”, how would you respond?

An idol doesn’t have to be an actual person ­– it’s anything that we prioritise before God. It could even be our school, work or hobbies.

Once we begin loving other things in our life more than God, we run the risk of having an idol.

A better way to illustrate this can be found in the 3 Hearts Diagram. Using the heart to represent our life, the throne indicates what we place in the centre of our life – the things we deem important.

The first heart is where God is outside of our life. Maybe we haven’t accepted God into our life, or we have done so but choose to ignore Him. We’re currently focused on our own goals.

The second heart is where we do acknowledge God’s presence in our life. We let Him in, but our attention is set on so many other things besides Him.

The third heart is where we decide to make God our top priority. God is first among everything we do.

Which picture best describes you?

The most ideal would be the third heart of course, but it’s possible that we might keep moving between them. And we certainly can’t do it by our own strength! 

Would you give up what you love most?

Today, I continue to experience difficulty in completely removing the idols in my life. I find myself constantly going from the second heart to the third heart, and then back again.

But God also reminded me of Psalm 139:23-24 through a friend.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

My advice is to pray this verse over yourself. Ask God to reveal to you any idols that you have in your life, as acknowledging them is the first step to removing them.

Be willing to lay them down before Him and ask for His help. If you are serious about it, God will discipline you in the way you should go.

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

John 15:2 is a confirmation that the process will be painful, but we’re being trained so that we can grow, so that we can become more fruitful.

THINK + TALK

  1. Referring back to the 3 Hearts Diagram, which picture best describes the current state of your life?
  2. What are the things in your life that are competing with God for your attention and affection?
  3. How can you exercise self-control and flee from temptation today?
About the author

Bridget Lee

How Bridget would describe a perfect day is listening to music and writing stories, all while having a cup of tea.