Title: Idols of the Heart
(H) Highlight verse: "And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!;" Mark 10:23
(E) Explain: A young rich man came to Jesus one day and asked him what “good thing” he must do to inherit eternal life? This meeting with Jesus was doomed from the beginning. Why? Because the young man was asking what work or good act does HE have to do to get eternal life? He was looking for a good moral act to be his savior and not Jesus.
(A) Application: The Bible is very clear in saying there is NOTHING WE CAN DO to have eternal life. Salvation has nothing to do with what we do or what we possess, but it has everything to do with what Jesus did. It has all to do with responding (by the calling of the Holy Spirit) to call of God to salvation and following Jesus. The Gospel tells us that we are all sinful and in need of a savior and it is only by the grace of God that we can be saved from our sin and to be declared righteous before God.
The Bible tells us to have no other gods except the true God and we are to have no idols. While I am pretty sure most people reading this article do not have little statue gods or altars set up to foreign gods in their home, but you may have idols of the heart that you must bring to the Lord.
- We are introduced to the term Idols of the heart in Ezekiel 14:1 - 6
- A group of elders came before the prophet Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord.
- The Lord informs Ezekiel that these men have erected idols in their hearts. As they lived in captivity they may have taken on a fondness of foreign gods and had a place of affection in their hearts for these gods.
- There is no indication that the leaders did not believe in God, it’s just they had other gods as well. They had divided loyalties and God tells Ezekiel these men cannot seek him as long as they have these idols of the heart.
- God tells them to repent, cast away their idols and return to the true God.
- Idols of the heart are dangerous crafty things.
- They are usually subtle and can give a false sense of significance, security and fulfillment. I.e.
- As followers of Jesus it is important for us to recognize the idols we have placed in our hearts. Once we have identified them we need deal with them one on one by repenting of our sin of idolatry and giving them over to God so he may be restored as the one true God in our lives.
We live in a society who has fully bought into materialism. People love to have stuff. People love their comfortable lives, money, security, possessions and power. So what is the true follower of Jesus’ proper perspective on this young man's encounter with Jesus? I don’t think the main point alludes to material possessions are necessarily bad, however the point is our possessions begin to own us and take the place of God in our lives then we have created an idol of the heart. Jesus says in John 6:26 – 29 to not to waste our time, energy and resources working to acquire or invest in material things of this world. Instead we are called to invest in the spiritual things or the important things in life. Use your time, energy, resources and even possessions for the Kingdom of God.
So if you were to put yourself in this story today, where would you fit? Is there something in your life that could be an idol of the heart for you? Are there things in your life that are hindering you from following Jesus? These things do not necessarily have to be possessions and wealth. Anything you elevate above God is an idol. Are you willing to allow God to be sufficient for you?
(R) Respond: Lord, may you are enough for me. May I not spend my life pursuing empty vain things. May I spend my life pursuing you and your will. Protect me from idols of the heart.