“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3, NIV)
In school they taught us the importance of the three R’s: reading, riting, and ‘rithmatic (maybe they should spend more time on the one S!). In our spiritual walk, we need to avoid the three I’s.
Independence. We were created by God and for God (Rev. 4:11). As our loving Creator, he has a claim on our lives and our worship. But God lets us choose. When we assert our independence from him, we reject his claim on us: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.“ (John 3:19, NIV).
Idolatry. Going our own way and doing our own thing leads to idolatry. We hear this word and think of little statues or totem poles relegated to the ancient world. However, Jonathan Inman defines idolatry with a wider breadth: “An outwardly respectable devotion that conceals a self-interested pursuit of life apart from our Creator.” (Inman lists these three I’s in his article) That means, as independents, we apply ourselves religiously to other things – work, money, relationships, pleasure, noble causes, even religion. Idolatry is a modern problem (1 Jn. 5:21) and it is inevitable if we turn from God. The reason for this is because we were created and wired to be worshipers. Ideally we worship God. If not, we worship ourselves. John Calvin described the human heart as an “idol factory” because we are so creative in replacing God with other things.
Immorality. These are progressive steps…and the next step is immorality. Trying to live without the Creator for whom we were made is inherently frustrating and unfulfilling. This leads us to “find what we need” by distorting God’s creation for our own purposes – to find satisfaction in other ways, often at the expense of others, and always contrary to God’s Word.
Sunday, we’ll be talking about the anatomy of sin described by Jeremiah in chapter 44. His call to Judah, of course, was repentance. But today we might say “dependence.” If you find yourself in immorality or caught in idolatry, find out where, in your life, you have declared your independence from God and make that right. See you Sunday!