If yes then I have two questions: What is your idol? and What are you afraid of?
Now this may come off as harsh at first but I want you to know that this post was inspired by my own struggles to meet with God daily. The ideas I am exploring come from my own experience, the experiences of others I have talked to, and Scripture. Also, this post should be seen as an encouragement to lay both of those down and enjoy the abundance of God’s presence.
The first and second question are undeniably intertwined and it may be that you find some parts of this redundant, but I believe there are significant distinctions. To address the first question: What is your idol? Now, you may have more than one, but the most common ones seem to be approval/acceptance, success, money, relationships, and autonomy. It should be noted that all of these idols seem to come from a fear and misunderstanding of God’s character. We worship approval from others because we are afraid that we cannot receive it (or enough of it) from God. We worship success because we think that God cannot endow us with significance or identity and because we are afraid that without success we will not be accepted or loved by God. These idols can bleed into each other and it will be seen that their are common threads in each. We worship money because we do not feel secure in God’s provision and because we do not trust that the Father in heaven has good gifts for us. We worship earthly relationships because we believe that they contain our identity, fulfillment, joy, and security. The funny thing about this idol is that it is so close to the truth, and yet completely misses the mark. All of these things are found in our relationship with the Father. With God at the top, all these things shall be added unto you in earthly relationships as well. Lastly, we worship autonomy because it gives us the illusion that we can have security, power, authenticity, and freedom. Truly our autonomy (and all of these things) only come from God: it is for freedom that we are set free. So our idols, whatever they are, really stem from a misunderstanding or lack of trust (resulting in fear) of who God is.
This leads directly to the second question: What are you afraid of? There are several fears that I will explore but ultimately we are afraid that meeting with God will not result in the filling of our emptiness. Now the fears are all totally mixed up in each other and affect each other and there is no doubt that we often hold one fear because of another or hold multiple fears at once. We might be afraid that we are not good enough for God. This fear can lead to being afraid that He won’t show up, that He will show up and be angry with us, or that we won’t be able to really experience Him (or at least not the way others do or we think we should). We might be afraid that our quiet times won’t be as amazing as other people’s quiet times. We might even be afraid that others will make fun of us, think we are crazy, or call us hypocrites. We might be afraid that we will have to give up our idols. Ultimately, we might be afraid that somehow in our quiet times we will fail. These fears can be and often are crippling. I find myself not meeting with God the day after I feel like I let Him down. I find myself not meeting with God when I can find something “better to do.” I find myself saying things like: I am too busy to meet with God.
Now what is the response to all these fears? God is. Perfect love cast out all fear. If only we understood God better, all these fears would be put right out of our heads. Are we not good enough? Absolutely not! We are dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Not because of our works, that no man may boast, but by the lavish love and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is written in Scripture that just one glance from our eyes makes God’s heart beat faster (admittedly this is from an allegory). Can we even fathom the deep love of God towards us broken idolaters, adulterers, thieves, murderers, sinners, arrogant self-pitying wretches. But instead he has made us holy, set apart for and with Christ. We are seated with Him in heavenly places as princes and princesses, and sons and daughters of the Most High God. And He wants to meet with us. Over and over again the message of Scriptures is that God wants to meet with us! Deuteronomy 4:20 “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This is written to Israel and the “from there” line is referring to a place of utter disobedience and breaking of the covenant. Over and over God says that if you seek Him you will find Him. He will show up. It won’t be like you expect Him to, but it will be so good. God’s promise is life and life abundantly. It is ultimate fulfillment. It is “all these things added unto you.” Seek His kingdom first. His kingdom comes in the heart of men and women as they seek Him daily. Ok ok ok let me break it down one more time and be done.
The God of the universe wants to meet with YOU, wherever you are at, and transform you into a true human being. His primary mode of transformation is through the experience of His presence, affirmation, and truth. The daily practice of meeting with God (keep remembering that it is not just a discipline but a meeting with the Living and Active God) will lead to this transformation. This will not be because of anything special that you did, but because you experience and submit to God. Oh and it will be infinitely better than any of your idols and it will banish your fears. Go for it. Jump in. The grace is warm.