So many of you have written, saying,
“It is so helpful to see the sin beneath my sin.”
Ezekiel, whom Jesus quoted when talking to Nicodemus in John 3,
calls the sin beneath the sin, a “heart idol.”
You cannot see heart idols, but you can see the bad fruit they produce.
When anything bad comes out of your mouth or life, it is because
you are looking to a heart idol to rescue you.
Tim Keller has given three primary categories of heart idols which Leslie Vernick has diagrammed with this chart:
The Lord promises to be in control, to be our security and comfort, and to love us.
But when we
do not look to Him,
do not run to Him,
we run to something else to meet that soul need.
When a good gift becomes a god in our heart, then we do not just desire it, but demand it.
The rich fool in Luke looked to build bigger barns to feel secure.
We may look to food to be our comfort.
Or the praise of man for love and affirmation.
But these are all lies that may help momentarily but then will turn and cut us to pieces.
WE DON’T TRUST JESUS AND HIS LOVE.
I’ve been reading Abba’s Child and it’s giving me a heart wound.
How often I, as Brennan Manning puts it, play the imposter,
wanting people to think well of me, looking to the idol of approval,
instead of to Jesus.
The other day I told a lie so quickly it astonished me,
wanting to cover that up about myself, to look better than I am.
A white lie, I told myself.
“Imposter,” His Spirit said.
“Don’t you know you are already loved just as you are?”
Manning asks: “Do you believe Jesus likes you — not just that He loves you because theologically He has to?”
Do I believe He is tender toward me, despite all my stuff?
That is key to being delivered from our idols.
When Jesus talked to Nicodemus,
He referred to an incident in Israel’s history when God’s people were grumbling and God sent poisonous snakes. He told Moses to lift up a serpent in the wilderness. Those who looked at that serpent were rescued.
In the same way, Jesus said, “so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:15) The Greek word for “believe,” (pisteuon) means “exercise faith in, trust in.” Let us learn what this means so we may be rescued not only from the penalty of sin, but also, from the power of sin.
Let your heart be prepared for this Sabbath day and this week with this:
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
2. Read John 3:14-15. What illustration is given to Nicodemus?
3. Read Numbers 21:4-9.
A. According to verse 4, what was the first step toward temptation for the people?
B. Then how did they begin to voice their fears?
C. How might they have talked to their souls during this time when they were feeling impatient?
D. What did God do that showed both His justice and His mercy (Truth and grace)
E. What step of faith did they need to take to be rescued from the poison of the snakebite?
Watch this re-enactment of the Samaritan woman.
4. What do you think her heart idol or idols might have been?
5. How do you see her “looking to Jesus” to replace them, and how was she changed?
This is true not only in salvation, but each day:
And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too,
for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him.
Colossians 2:6 (TLB)
6. Share about the last time you were delivered from a heart idol by looking to Jesus.
The movie, Chariots of Fire, told the story of two men who had a gift for running. One man, Harold Abrahams, according to the movie, made it his idol, saying, “I have to win to justify my existence.” The other Eric Liddell, didn’t have to win. He didn’t even have to run — but when he ran, he felt God’s pleasure. When he began to feel God’s pleasure, he threw his head back. He was known for this for it was such a strange way to run, people wondered if he would trip. I see it as looking to Jesus, as drawing on the power within, Christ in Him, the hope of glory. Whether he won or not, he felt God’s pleasure. Therefore he was able to overcome the temptation of envy or discouragement which plagued Harold Abrahams. Christ was his life. This is a photo of the actual Eric Liddell running. And then, I have the clip from Chariots of Fire.
We often fail to understand and believe that the gospel has the power to deliver us from the power of sin as well as the penalty of sin. I have a dear friend whose prayer request for the year is that she would see the “risen-ness of Christ” as she trusts Him with various challenges in her life. (She got it from Abba’s Child) Instead of running to her idols, she wants to come to Jesus and find His risen life in her to be sufficient. She memorizes and can go back to the Word at those times, speaking to her soul. She also is keeping a “one thousand gifts” pad to keep herself thankful, instead of grumbling as the Israelites did before God sent snakes. I remember that our own Rebecca when faced with changing her eating habits, turned to reading edifying books that taught of intimacy with God. They are replacing their idols by “looking” to Jesus. I often remember what Rebecca said, “It wasn’t a quick fix — but He came to me slowly.” The Israelites, in Numbers 21:4 “became impatient.” May God help us to wait upon Him that we may rise up on wings like eagles.
7. Read Colossians 3:1-4 and write down instructions that will help you look to Jesus instead of to your idols.
Thursday-Friday: Free sermon
I have a classic Keller sermon on overcoming idols of the heart. It is free. You may have heard it before, but because this is such a huge problem for everyman, listen again. Then share your comments.
8. What’s your take-a-way and why?
I am still thinking on #6, trying to decide which story to tell.
Meanwhile, I listened again to Keller’s sermon. I looked up my notes from back on August 1, 2014 and followed my notes as I listened — like some of the rest of you have said you sometimes do. It was good to review it again, even if it was only about six months ago. This is something we can all stand a reminder on, I think. Especially I needed to hear again the part about anger, despondency, and fright, and that at those times we need to ask what it is we are afraid we are going to lose — something that we have made more important than Christ. I am presently going through this process at church, believe it or not. My family of four (husband, 2 daughters, and myself) always go out to eat lunch together right after worship on Sunday. This has been our “family time” when we check signals with one another — currently it is concerning one daughter’s upcoming wedding in August — there is much to accomplish. Well, at church the trend is developing to hold almost anything in church-life right after worship on Sunday!! Commmittee meetings and Lenten studies are currently scheduled then. The thought on the part of church leadership is that people are more apt to stay once they are at church, rather than coming back an additional time for these special events. It is a means to larger attendance supposedly. But I am here to report that I have felt some personal anger over this change. After all, I say to myself (and my family), “this has been our family time for years.” We are discussing how we are going to respond to this — are we going to buckle under and do as the church wishes, or are we going to miss these events and continue with our family plans? Do I possibly have an idol at work here? Perhaps our family needs to find another family time, but this is not easy to schedule with adult daughters who have busy lives. An associated problem with church meetings after worship is that by the time I have attended a meeting to handle “church business” I sometimes have lost my “feel-good” feeling that I received in worship. This is not settled yet, I think your prayers are needed to help me get through this dilemma!
Deanna I am still trying to think of a good example as well. I just want to say I understand the difficulty of meetings right after service. i struggled with that as well and did speak up that I would rather have it another day and others felt the same ( we have a small church and at the time it was the board I was on which by the way I had a bit of a struggle thinking I should do it or not. I am a bit angry with myself I went against what I felt I should not do and did it anyway (people pleasing) Lord give Deanna your wisdom here and I pray for others as to what it would be that YOU would want here. Give her and her family peace and unity in the decision.
I’ve been thinking about your dilemma too, Deanna. I know you didn’t ask for advice, but for prayer. My unsolicited thoughts, though, are that if you have the amazing opportunity to have time weekly, with your adult daughters, that is a treasure. I am convicted of not working hard enough to establish those times. It is SO hard that I usually just give up getting even half of our family together. My goal now is once a month one on one with my daughter and I haven’t figured out when to see my son. So, I know I’m biased, but I think you see where my ‘advice’ would lie. I also understand the struggle of an after church meeting being counterproductive in changing the tone from worship. I Will pray.
Thanks, Liz and Wanda! I appreciate both the advice and the prayers.
Deanna – I just re-read your entry here. There is so much at work and going on here, for sure! I will be joining the others in prayer for your wisdom and peace in this. I’ve often pondered a little gem of a verse tucked in amidst the prophecy for a new kind of kingdom to come: it’s found in Isaiah 30:21 “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” It’s such a lovely description of the Holy Spirit’s daily leading I think. It brings to my mind too, time when my dear aunt was struggling to make an important decision in her cancer treatment – after a special time in the Word and prayer, she was sharing with me how the Lord had impressed upon her not so much which decision was “right”, but rather that He loved her with an everlasting love no matter which path she chose….and He would walk with her along the way!
Jackie this post really blessed me as right now I am asking for prayer and the Lords leading in a situation. What your Aunt got after being in the Word and in prayer is so sweet to me right now. This would be a huge change and oneihave probably tried to control vs trusting the Lords leading at least I question if that has been happening and I think I have. Probably not making much sense. Thank you for sharing this.
Mary E. I didn’t want to comment on the link you posted until I had time to watch it, but WOW how powerful that was. I had totally fogotten about that Twila Paris song and to see the original footage from Ecuador as well as scenes from both movies. That is amazing and so moving. The story of the 5 missionaries was told so many times when I was little, I feel like it has always been with me. I met Rachel Saint once (the sister of Nate). Actually, Nate Saint’s son, Phil, is married to a woman I went to high school with, whose dad was a pastor in my tiny hometown of 300 people. It was when the Saint family was in town for this wedding, that I met Rachel at a different event that week. I only remember what an honor it was to meet one of the women who lived through that incredible loss and saw with her own eyes, the hand of God. In fact, Rachel went back to Ecuador and continued to live with the native people there. She is buried there, I believe. What was ‘won’ for the Kingdom of God which sprang from the loss of those 5 men will never be fully known until heaven. I also loved the Eric Liddell movie footage with the song. Like you, I need to watch the movie again! THANKS for finding and sharing these. In case anyone didn’t get to see the clip, I’ll repost it on this page too!
Wanda…WOW! I’ve never known anyone who actually met people from that Ecuador masquer. I only know about it from reading the book! I guess it was very real and often spoken of for you! Yes, I love how someone put together all those pics to go with that song. It is perfect! And if you keep viewing after the song finishes they show how the very men that killed the missionaries came to know the Lord and are now “God followers.”
Mary E. and Wanda,
Thank you for posting this beautiful video and comments. The redemption in the tragedy of lost life is completely remarkable. Light overcoming Darkness. Such deep sorrow in the hands of our Redeemer.
Mary: For me, it wasn’t more than shaking her hand as I think I was too insecure/shy to ask her anything. 🙂 I was just out of high school I think. Always made me take notice when I saw something written about her though.
Okay, then I retract my WOW and replace it with a lower case wow. 😉
I am thinking over #6 I know one thing I have come far in is my competitive nature. I am in a business that can be all about numbers sometimes. I have come so far in working towards not getting caught up in that. I think just seeing it is certainly a huge step and I am going to celebrate that. So I think that is both people pleasing but power and control as well. I also have many encounters with many different personalities. I have found myself when I have come up against someone being really haughty and pushing their weight around I want to go into battle and that has not been happening as well. Actually today I was with someone and instead I was so comfortable not trying to power over that but instead just being so at peace at who i am and it was so freeing. I actually had a time of prayer before i spent time with the person I was with that I anticipated may be that way, The Lord so worked in that. Life is so exciting when we ask him to partner with us and when we can yield to his Spirit and not towards our idols. It is a journey and I want to enjoy the process. I have to make a confession I was afraid to write this for fear of what people would think of me as that part of me is ugly in my eyes and I do not want to have it be known in what I can struggle with. i have been brutally honest with people before about my shortcomings and the enemy comes sometimes so quickly to try and use it against me. I think He hates it when we share what is in the dark. He would like to have us keep it there and keep us struggling. So there you go. TRUTH
I just want to add at about 1:00am I woke up and the first thing that I was thinking of was I can be haughty and push my weight around. Lord help me with my control idol.please help me to see my blind spots. Your love is. More than enough. Listened to the Keller sermon and want to listen again. So good!
Liz, thank you for sharing. I have had struggles with Christians and non Christians alike who I perceived as competitive. What you shared opened my eyes to what they may be struggling themselves. And knowing that you have them as a struggle and yet finding yourself “not trying to power over but instead being at peace at who I am and it was so freeing” was a comfort to me. Lately, I feel a greater love for those “competitive” ones 🙂 and feel as free as you because of who I am in Christ. So agree with ” I think he hates it when we share what is in the dark. He would like to have us keep it there and keep us struggling. So there you go. TRUTH”
Hi all! Here is a link to the sermon Elizabeth posted by John piper about the serpent. It is an audio version on YouTube.
#6 Share how you were delivered from a heart idol by looking to Jesus.
I have 2 examples that come to me . My first heart idol that raged for years was control. I was blinded to that although it raged.
It literally took years and i sought the Lord’s help, but wanted his help “my way.” I tried my own ways of working on my family problem,which
included alcoholism. When my daughter was having marital problems her counselor suggested attending Coda meetings. As she shared
with me that this rally helped her, I began to see that we shared this unhealthy issue,or actually she had modeled her behavior after me.
I was in bondage for years. I am blessed and it took a good while for that to be taken from me. I did journal a gratitude journal for most of a year.
This process of being set free from this continues and so much has been restored to me that was missing.
God is now at work in my heart on the idol of appreciation. I assumed a job that was needed in my small church of accompanying the singing.
When I was in Vermont another person came on who has a professional background. I felt sometimes an awareness of praise given to her.
Now while she is away I am filling in for a time. The hurt feeling that comes at times made me realize the idol. I know that Jesus is my all in all.
I do find that he is enough and my piano practicing draws me closer. Now I am memorizing some of the hymns. This past week I was so touched
by All to Jesus I Surrender. Yes, all to him I freely give.
Shirley thank you for sharing this. Sounds like the Lord is definitly at work in your life.
Just this week I picked back up the book “One Thousand Gifts”
Shirley~ Thank you for this.
Yes, when we know that we are safe with the Lord, we are deeply free. I’m still learning. Loved the reminder of that sweet old hymn, “All to Jesus I Surrender”…… My mama use to sing that in her beautiful alto voice and I shall always hear her harmony when I sing that hymn. All of my years with her, were accompanied by her singing and she unintentionally left me and her grandchildren a legacy of hope and gratitude through her singing ( around the house, around the campfire, in the car – all the way across S. Dakota taking me to college – in the pew next to a grandchild, in the Billy Graham Crusade choir.) I’m pretty sure the heavenly choir has a stronger alto section now.
Loved reading about your mama’s singing, Nila. My mom also loved to sing and did a lot of it. What a thought to sing with them again in the presence of our Lord!
Shirley, your openness touches me this morning. It is hard to see all that is within us and then share with others what we have found and what God is redeeming. He is certainly alive and working in and through you, Shirley. Such a sweet presence you bring to our discussions. Thank you for sharing this. Rest in His saving and redeeming grace, dear friend.
Shirley, I share what you said about “but wanted his help “my way”. Oh isn’t it good of Him not to leave us to our own wrangling and maneuvering? Thanks for being honest about your struggles.
Shirley – what a beautiful testimony. I love that you mentioned a gratitude journal too….something I have done off and on for years, but not recently. You prompted me to get back to it! “So much has been restored to me that was missing.” Joel 2:25 says that the Lord “will restore to you the years the locust has eaten….” How can He do THAT?? So mysterious…..so much GRACE He pours into our lives.
Very honest sharing, Shirley. Was reading in Abba’s Child that when we feel loved by Him it is easier to confess.
4. What do you think her heart idol or idols might have been? From what little we know of her, it seems she sought security and approval from men. For financial security, she needed to be married, but since she had had many marriages, it looks like she was not feeling emotionally secure or approved and was seeking that.
5. How do you see her “looking to Jesus” to replace them, and how was she changed? ~ she asked him questions; her heart seemed full of them (11,12) to find out who He was. Especially after He said, ‘If you knew who it is…..” She was listening. ~ She answered honestly. ‘I have no husband’. She didn’t try to defend herself or her actions when He pointed out her sinful life. ~ She acknowledged that He was a prophet; from God and that she knew Messiah was coming. ~ When He told her He was Messiah, she responded with action immediately. ~ She left behind her water jar; what had been her goal for that moment, a mundane household task, was not of importance anymore. She needed to share what had spoken to her heart, to the part of her that was seeking fulfillment elsewhere. ~ She told many! ~ She was compelled by the sufficiency of Christ.
6. Share about the last time you were delivered from a heart idol by looking to Jesus.
In a nutshell, I can’t go into detail but I was treated unjustly yesterday so I called my boss and told her I was giving her a two week notice but I would be happy to switch places with the gal I was training. I could go back to working in the kitchen but not managing, she could manage, and I would help her the rest of the year. My husband was totally standing behind me and said we will trust God for our finances but you need to stand up for yourself and not be treated that way. In the past my comfort idol would cry out..but what will you do financially? You have to have this job! Immediately I went to Jesus and cried out for help and started worshiping Him for who He is. When I gazed at Him, He gave me some verses, and truth about who He is, about who I am in Him and about the future..that this isn’t really that big of a deal. He helped me battle my lying thinking that this job is ultimate. That I have to have it. His strength and peace came for He is my strength and my peace so when I called my boss I wasn’t afraid if she just said, “okay” for I knew He would move either way. I called her and gave my 2 weeks and trusted God..if she said okay then it was what He wanted me to do, if she said to wait then I knew the timing wasn’t right. My boss did ask me to wait and see how it goes with the two new employees first. We will see what happens but regardless it is in His hands and I am content with whatever He has.
That took much courage, Rebecca! I’m so glad that you found that courage in and through Him! Praying right now for you and this situation! =)
Rebecca, I agree with Mary — this took a lot of courage/faith on your part. I was once in a similar situation, and it turned out well — not like I thought it would, but still a good result. I am praying for a good result for you.
Wow, Rebecca, you have had a rough day! But it is so great that you turned to the Lord and He was your strength. I am glad your husband is supportive of you in this. I will pray for what lies ahead for you in this that God will be glorified. I appreciate your godly example here!
Wow, Rebecca! That took a lot of courage. I am thankful for your testimony of trusting in Jesus. Tim Keller made a really good point of saying that as Christians, we can move about this earthly life with freedom and power because of what Jesus has done for us and who we are in Him. The verse he shared “If God is for us, who can’t be against us?” makes “heavenly sense” in times like this. Praying for you!
Praying with you, Rebecca — for God’s best.
7. Read Colossians 3:1-4 and write down instructions that will help you look to Jesus instead of to your idols.
a. Set my heart on things above
b. Set my mind on things above
Right now, I am at a point in my life where earthly things have taken a ruling in the form of busyness. More and more I see a heart idol of man’s approval or even God’s approval. Now the latter is in itself good, but I am learning here that I can be so set in pleasing God not because I love Him but because I want His approval in a selfish way-then perhaps He will answer my prayers the way I wanted them answered. My heart is deceitful indeed and I am learning to listen to the Spirit for wise counsel when my heart idol is rearing its ugly head. And I realized where my heart is set, my mind goes that way also and my actions follow.
Tim Keller is always on the spot-he is like an excellent heart doctor J-knows how to diagnose an ill heart like mine.
One take-away: (I had so many)
Chris Rice song ministered to me this week. In the classroom, I was teaching my students how to catch a patient when they start to fall while being assisted by them. “Let them fall…do not try to prevent the fall…use your gait belt to gently lower them and keep your back straight…you will lessen injury… I had a light bulb moment when I heard the lyrics saying, “Fall on Jesus…and live”! Whereas falls in the clinical area are often unexpected, Jesus already knows I will fall. But He will always be there for me and to catch me with much, much greater awareness and love. And I don’t have to live with fear knowing He’s got my back (pardon the pun J).
Great word picture!
Oh, my goodness, Bing. LOVE this illustration of “falling on Jesus”! I need to remember this one.
Bing, I really love your posts and this one is so insightful..your truthful heart-not beating yourself up but just being honest. “I don’t have to live with fear knowing He’s got my back”..What a great word picture of that! I want Him to remind me of this when I go back to work on Monday.
My take-away: I hope this fits well enough. It’s not directly so much from the lesson, but where He has me right now. God has really shown me this week how every struggle can be used to show me another layer of my idolatrous heart. Small things, like my husband’s snoring waking me 3 times in one night–the irritation I felt showed me what an idol I make of comfort. Yes sleep is a great thing, but my anger at whatever/whoever threatens it, reveals idolatry. If my kids never did anything disrespectful or disobedient, I would never know what an idol I have made of having godly-acting children. If I never messed up at work or if I my appearance was perfect, I would never know how I “worship” man’s approval. Even my trials of physical pain, revealing this impatience and frustration within, show me again the belief I have that life should be easy, comfortable. My fears reveal a hold on something other than Him. I was designed to worship because my kids do things that bring embarrassment, i see my idol of man’s opinion. because i mess up at work i see my idol of approval.
My trials, my imperfections, my insecurities reveal my idolatrous heart. So, in this moment at least, I can honestly be thankful for the trials, for what they reveal about my heart–things I could hide otherwise, but because they are exposed, I can take them to the Cross. Last night something came up with our Church, not worth the details, but my gut reaction was to be offended. After I spieled on that a few minutes, my husband turned the ship around for me and focused us back to the truth we knew of the situation, and the unknowns we shouldn’t assume. And with clearer vision, eyes off self, I could then see once again my idol of man’s approval of me, of their opinion of me, wanting to be well thought of. Suddenly the Lord brought back a seemingly random memory of a few years ago. We were at a family retreat with Church and my sin was 6. Being the youngest, he got to be team captain of the kick ball game, which meant he choose the players for his team. Standing among the rest of the family, lots of friends…he chose me as his first player. It was so simple, but so sweet and gave me a thrill. And when I transpose my son with Jesus, and remember He has said, “I want her”–and He knows EVERYTHING about me, honestly how can man’s opinion of me matter anymore?
sorry–quite a few typos above–my “son was 6”, and a few other places I meant to edit–not a good idea to type while trying to make pizza 😉
Elizabeth, such a sweet reminder that Jesus “wants” us. That reminds me of a Rich Mullins quote where he said he would rather have Jesus ‘want’ him than ‘use’ Him..God can use anyone..he even uses wicked people to accomplish his purposes, but to know we are ‘wanted’ by Him..totally turns things upside down.
Rebecca, your story really touches me. God knows your needs and he knows the trials. You are in his hands and he will provide.
It is such a blessing that he gave you verses and gave you ” truth about who He is and who you are in Him and about the future.”
Being content and resting in his care are wonderful lessons for us all.
Takeaway: The biggest gain I felt this week was working through the imagery of the bronze serpent and how that experience is a foreshadowing of the cross and redemption. I felt God really spoke to me when I was thinking through that. I also felt so sure of what I was seeing in the Samaritan woman’s responses and working through the Colossians 3 passage. When I worked through those, I felt like my takeaway was this: Being compelled by the sufficiency of Christ. I saw that in her. I knew it was what I needed and Colossians told me clearly what to do.
I honestly thought about question #6 all week and had worked it all out in my mind. My answer was similar to what I had felt a couple weeks ago and tried about 10 times to post, but the security wouldn’t let me. This week, I thought I’d tweak my thoughts and I still felt that they were true.
Then I fell off the wagon. Today, I feel as far from feeling and living out that acknowledgement of sufficiency as I’ve ever been. Feeling such a failure. So, my answer to #6 is that I don’t have a recent example of being delivered from a heat idol by looking to Jesus. In fact, the battle to feel like my life has purpose and that He is sufficient to meet my heart needs is raging. I guess it is an approval idol that has been stealing my peace today. Or, I can’t really articulate what kind of a heart idol it is. Is there an idol called ‘purpose’? Because that’s what I seem to be striving for; wishing I felt needed and made a difference in my day to day mundane life. So, maybe another takeaway, is that feeling of defeat and how I need to plug in what I know about looking unto Jesus and talking to my soul, because I think this idol (whatever its name is) is doing all the talking.
Don’t know if you will see this since its Sunday and we’ve moved onto another study but I did want to encourage you – to remind you that Jesus has you where you are for a reason, not on accident. So right where you are in everyday He gives you purpose. May you receive a kiss from the King today and be renewed in your heart by hearing His calling for today. Blessings, Wanda. (P.S. not to feed an idol but even here on this blog you DO make a difference, so encouraging and helping to ponder and process so many thoughts and lessons, you are truly appreciated and loved here!)
My take away is that the passage in Colossians 3 is my next goal to memorize.
Since then, you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above…where
Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keller’s sermon really impacted me.
And Wanda, we all fall off the wagon- I know those experiences…And the song Come to Jesus is wonderful!
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I have just started with lesson 1 of the Woman Transformed by the Gospel study. I have printed out all of them and just this morning really sat down to imbibe the material in order to be transformed. With God it’s never too late to start doing right. Is that correct? I praise God that I believe it is true!
4. What do you think her heart idol or idols might have been? I see security. I see a woman deeply hurt and just trying to survive. Seeing no other option but to be with a man who will have her until he no longer wants her. It breaks my heart. She felt ashamed which I think show she did not want to be living that way but did not see another way.
5. How do you see her “looking to Jesus” to replace them, and how was she changed? She realized that she had another option. So many times humans feel as if they have no option but Jesus is always an option. Even if she did have to starve to death because she had no one or no way to support herself she would have hope in Him. As long as we seek idols we will feel mastered by the “must” of this earthly life, to do what it takes to hang onto that thin thread. But with Him we can cherish life beyond this fragile one. It does not eliminate struggles or trials but gives us sight beyond them. It takes our desperation out of the situation and fills it will confidence and hope in HIM, not in the outcome, but in HIM. The thing I see in her is that she was loosed. She went from holding tightly and closely to ensure security to leaving her water jar behind and going into the city and speaking freely to those that likely shunned her. She had placed her “shame” in Him and found a new identity.
6. Share about the last time you were delivered from a heart idol by looking to Jesus. This past weeks I have felt delivered afresh again and again. He has been opening my eyes to hidden attitudes about my situations and then reminding me that He is my foundation, that He is my hope, that there are much more important things than the outcome of this moment right here, right now. I am so often remind of the donkey with a piece of fruit dangling constantly in front of his nose to make him walk, and Jesus comes and takes that fruit away, opening my eyes to the joy and wonder of the world around me, of greater things than just that silly piece of fruit. There are indeed so many layers to my idolatrous heart, but each time another is removed He seems to also drive deeper the “eternity” awareness.