Week 2-Idols and Repentance
Lent is primarily about focusing our hearts and minds on the glorious truths of the gospel. One of the things that keeps us from feasting on the gospel any time of the year is idolatry. (“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” -1 Corinthians 10:14). An idol is anything that we desire or treasure more than God. The tremendous challenge when it comes to talking about idolatry is that we can easily see when someone else has an issue with idolatry but it is really hard to recognize it in our own life. If we want more of Jesus we are going to have to repent of the things in our life that have become a god to us. Here are some diagnostic questions from David Powlison that will help us to see more clearly the idols that exist in our life.
- What do I worry about most?
- What do I use to comfort myself when things go bad or get difficult?
- What do I do to cope? What are my release valves? What do I do to feel better?
- What preoccupies me? What do I daydream about?
- What makes me feel the most self-worth? Of what am I the proudest? For what do I want to be known?
- What do I lead with in conversations?
- Early on what do I want to make sure that people know about me?
- What prayer, unanswered, would make me seriously think about turning away from God?
- What do I really want and expect out of life? What would really make me happy?
- What is my hope for the future?
- What do you blog, tweet or post the most about on social networks?
As you answer these questions you can begin to see things, or people, that have become too important to you. The best way to deal with our idols is by turning to God’s Word. The passage of Scripture that I am recommending for you to meditate on is Psalm 51. Psalm 51 shows us how David responded after he had given into the lust of his heart and committed adultery with Bathsheba. Don’t just read the passage of Scripture. Slow down. Meditate on the words. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of areas of your life that you need to surrender. Ask God to give you the strength to, not merely confess your sin, but to truly hate it and repent of it.
• Psalm 51
Questions for Reflection
• What is God saying to you through this passage? What will your response be to what God is saying?
• Slowly read over the diagnostic questions. What do they reveal about what you value and treasure most in life?
• Parents, how can you communicate to your kids the dangers of idolatry? Have social media and Iphones become too important to them (sports, boyfriends, girlfriends, success, image)?
• In Psalm 51 David finally comes clean and truly repents of his sin. Is there someone you need to talk to about your battle with sin? Someone that can hold you accountable and help you find spiritual victory?
Picture is ‘Christ Carrying the Cross’ by Titian, 1556. Song is a cover of ‘Clear the Stage’ done by Jimmy Needham.