Study from God’s Word… [More readings on the history of the transition between Old and New Testament times] … Passage for Reflection: Colossians 2: 8 … NIV See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
My Journal for Today: Dr. Smith brings forth, in today’s devotional study/entry, those times between the Old/New Testaments, which gave rise to “I”-dolatry, an emphasis on intellectual and/or secular values which drew worship away from the one, true God and put it on the individual, personally, and the world, collectively.
When the ancient Jews, who had been the focus of the Old Covenant, were under the theocracy of God’s rule, even though there were times of rebellion and disobedience of God’s law, at times God sent His children prophets and leaders to draw them back to Himself; but those transition times, which brought the rule of the Greeks and Romans and their diversions of pagan idolatry, God was going to need the final, key element, of His redemptive plan, the introduction of His sacrificial Lamb into the world, to bring His family back to the reality of Whom they should worship, avoiding the deceptions of the world, which played into the basic sin nature of mankind.
But even the injection of THE SAVIOR into the world has not yet brought about the complete submission of mankind to God’s will and His ways. Two millennia after Jesus, the God-man, walked the earth, was crucified and raised again, mankind, probably as much or more now than ever, has turned to “I”-dolatry by allowing the ego of self to divert his attention away from the truth of God (in His word) or the reality of a Savior Who still lives in the presence of His Spirit and His Church to draw mankind to His kingdom and His eternal glory.
Smith’s compelling question from today’s reading is thus: ”Despite my deep faith, how much of my thinking is unwittingly both secular and idolatrous?” And when one, as I have mediated on this question this morning, really becomes vulnerable and honest to answer this question, we have to realize that Jeremiah nailed it in the book by his name when he stated the warning [in Jer. 17: 9], … “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
My heart, and yours too, is so very susceptible to the lures Satan will use by using our desire for self-control to draw our focus away from Savior control. Even those of us who’ve given our hearts to Jesus Christ are weak of heart and we can so easily allow our selves to get side-tracked from THE Way, God’s way, onto the road to self awareness, self gratification, and self actualization.
Think about it, … you know that having a deep, abiding, and disciplined DAILY devotional life is one of the keys to staying on God’s path [see Prov. 3: 5-6] and letting God’s word guide our life [see Psalm 119: 9-11]; … BUT … how often do we let self-directed distractions or diversions get in the way of a DAILY decision to spend time in prayer and productive time with God, studying, meditating, and reveling in God’s word. And what is it that diverts our attention? Well, my guess is that we could all nail the answer to that question without much trouble.
We too often let our Jer. 17: 9 hearts, deceive us into thinking we have a license, because of our tough, worldly schedule to take a vacation from the discipline of working time in our daily schedule with our Lord in God’s word? How often do we let the distractions of the world and the “tyranny of the urgent” draw our focus off of a morning “quiet time” and onto our “to do” list for the day? How many times to we let sensual or self-fulfilling temptations draw our hearts off of Savior and onto self?
Common now, … be honest! And if we are, most of us are letting Satan, the world, and our own hearts dictate our choices rather than doing what Jesus commanded His disciples to do in a passage I would hope all who read here have memorized. … Christ Own words ring our bell of conviction in Luke 9: 23, which says in the NKJV, which I have memorized, Then He said to them all (i.e., a large group of Jesus’ followers), if anyone would come after Me, let he deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Are we following Him DAILY when we choose to abort our morning devotional with job-directed thoughts which take us away from our morning quiet times? Are we taking up the crosses of our life daily, by thinking more about how we can get ahead rather than how we can stay on God’s path in life? Are we denying self by seeking out pornography, chat rooms, or Facebook on the internet rather delving deeply into God’s word and being in surrender to God’s truth?
Personally, … I know the results of both of those pursuits; and my friend, I choose to pursue my Savior and do all I can to stay away from my own “I”-dolatry as I trek through this life. How about you?
My Prayer for Today: Lord, keep shining Your light brightly on my path, Your path, in Your word; and I will follow! Amen