I am pleased to have Rev. Mike Higgins, Senior Pastor of Redemption Fellowship, as my guest blogger today. Redemption is located in Fayetteville, Georgia. This is a note he sent to the members. Oh, yeah. He just happens to be my boss, too.
After reading a chapter in Dr. Jerram Barrs' book, The Heart of Evangelism, entitled “Barriers Between the World and the Church” I was impressed on how he plainly defines the idols of life. In the book he describes these little "g" gods as "idols of the will" which are those that appear to give us direction: work, ambition, success, money; and idols of the heart that appear to answer our need for pleasure: sex, relationships, possessions, sports, the arts, etc. As you can see, these activities are not ungodly in themselves, but when we devote ourselves to them in an effort to get our worth, peace and satisfaction from them, they become our personal gods. There is only one solution for the "thirsts" we all have as people: the well of water flowing from the love and power of Jesus Christ. Idolatry not only leaves you thirsty, it is actually very hard work which ironically makes you thirstier; you have to keep it up so you can feel good about yourself. For example, if you worship people's opinions, you will work hard at never letting them down; if you love money, you get very upset when God asks you to give more than you planned; if you are trying to raise perfect children, you become undone with the slightest amount of rebellion. You really need to relax and let God help you; you are worshipping the wrong divinity. In the midst of all this "warfare," Christians are commanded to reach a world which believes in creating its own truth, not discovering absolute truth. It is also a world that has a problem with authority especially when that authority is contained in a text that is two-thousand years old and claims to satisfy the thirsts, appetites and desires of today's bodies and hearts. We at Redemption Fellowship are called to reach this world with the gospel, but we will not do it until we ourselves are trusting God to satisfy us as His people. Are we drinking from the fountain that never runs dry? Are we yielding to the authority of the Holy Spirit? Or are we arguing amongst ourselves over programs and events? Are we distracted by our own gods of "me, myself, and mine?" Have we forgotten that we are a nation of priests called to be witnesses for Him? Brothers and Sisters, if we act and live like unbelievers, then we are cheating ourselves while simultaneously trying to convince others of the benefits of serving our God. Believe me, I know what it is like to be cheated; I have a lot of experience in the area of idolatry. I have personally dealt with the idols of exercise and physical appearance for years. I believe I embraced this idol after failing an Army physical fitness test in the late seventies that left me devastated with shame. I have been running ever since. I have never failed an Army physical fitness test since that dreadful day and usually score the maximum--but it has never been good enough and I have never enjoyed it (signs of idolatry). A lot of my marathon training was motivated out of the fear of dropping out of a race, and so I found myself overdoing it and only by God's grace not seriously injuring myself. I still work out consistently, however as a result of understanding how my heart functions, I am not controlled by physical fitness--although it is very tempting. Idolatry is something that is always overdone and out of proportion when compared to normalcy. I thank God for my personal history up until now and am glad that I can look back and see how He IS delivering me. All humans are self-inflicted with their personal idols since all humans want their needs met. This is the human condition. This should spur us all to preach and live according to the grace and power of Jesus like never before. We must compel men and women to see that only in Christ will they find the satisfaction that they are desperately seeking in their personal gods. Matthew 11:28 states, "Come unto me all you who are laboring and are heavy ladened and I will give you rest." Are you tired yet? Are you thirsty? Come to Jesus, and bring somebody with you. Pastor Mike