By Deanna Clardy
I woke up this morning with a word from God – a word that He sent to me in my dreams last night. That word is “Idols.” This word was so very clear and loud in my mind, and the very first thing on my mind the moment I opened my eyes. I thought “What do I do with this word, Lord? What does it mean and why is THIS the word you’ve given me to start my day?” I immediately began to pray for Him to reveal His word, His explanation and His wisdom as to the meaning of this message. As I lay there in bed praying, I heard “Deanna, what are you idolizing?” My immediate reaction was of course, “God, I do not idolize any other god! I do not put any other god before You!” Then it hit me…like a ton of bricks…when I heard, “Deanna, what you put before Me…be it in your thoughts, your deeds, or your actions, you create it to be an idol.” WOW! Alright Lord, yes, You have my attention.
I began to think about the things that I think about. Do you ever just stop in the middle of your day and ask yourself “What have I been thinking about so far today?” Try it. You might be surprised as to what you discover. We need to be aware of how we think. The enemy has his ways of sneaking in seeds, planting them and then sitting back at watching them grow. By the time we realize it, seeds of doubt, insecurity, anger, worry and fear are in full bloom, and you’re left reaping its harvest…left standing there thinking “What is going on Lord?! Why is this happening, AGAIN?!”
He revealed to me that my thoughts have been filled with doubt…self-doubt as to who I am as a woman, my value and self-worth; insecurity…insecure as to how I look as a woman in comparison to others; worry…worried about keeping everyone happy so that I will be loved and shown love in a manner in which I understand it to be love; and fear…fearful that my ideal world and the people in it would never be who I needed them to be – that my daily prayers over and about them would never come to fruition. Which then turned to distrust. A vicious cycle of emotions, spinning out of control. The enemy’s favorite attack on me, as he knows or weakest points.
As I continued in my morning, pondering and listening to all that was being revealed, He showed me how all these things that have consumed my daily thoughts, and how they had been created, by me, into idols. He reminded me of His first commandment “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:2-6.
He showed me my sin…my sin in not putting my mind on Him, how I wasn’t seeking Him first in all things…”But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33. How I am to love through Christ, and how His perfect love casts off fear…”There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18.
He showed me how living with doubt, fear, worry, jealousy, and looking to others to fill and satisfy me is not walking in His Spirit. Only He can truly fill, fulfill and satisfy me. “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14.
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:19-26
He showed me how I can’t control the actions of others and better still, how I’m not accountable for other people’s actions or in-actions…only my own. Then He showed me the way in which I should move forward…”Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person— such a person is an idolater —has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:1-20.
God created me in His image. I want to be His reflection. I know that we all stumble, fall and sometimes completely blow it…how well I know this. But this I also know: God tells me that I am not a slave to sin and that I am alive in Christ…”Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus…..For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:1-11; 14.
For me to be able to move in the direction He is leading and to strengthen my relationship with Him, I know I must continue to read and study His word by being in my Bible, spending time with Him in prayer, being conscious as to my thought life, and by actively turning away from the shadow of doubt and into His Light and truth. I also know that in order to do these things and mature in Christ…to be able to stand in the power of the Holy Spirit and resist sin, I must first: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:10-17.
I have sinned. I am a sinner. I fall short of the glory of God. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10.
BUT GOD….oh how I love the “but God” proclamations! “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8; “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith he loved us, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5; “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.” Romans 6:17.
Father God, Thank You for Your word today…today and every day. Thank You for loving me the way You do, for loving me enough to not let me stay stagnant, and for guiding me all the days of my life. Forgive me for my defiance, ignorance, stubbornness and outright prideful arrogance against You and Your Word. Thank You for searching my heart and bringing these things into Your Light and showing me the error of my ways. Be that “lamp unto my feet” and keep me on the “straight and narrow” that leads only to You. For no other path do I want in my life. You are my provision and my portion, my shelter and strong tower. There is none like You. Help me to live out Your word and to “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17. In Your Son’s precious Name I pray. Amen.