Thursday, October 17, 2013

In the Presence of Idols - Expectations

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. (Ezekiel 36:25 NIV)

Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. (Ezekiel 36:31 NIV)

As I meditated on this section of scripture I found myself looking back, loathing myself for my past sin but, knowing I have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, I was able to be thankful for all God has brought me out of. I looked back on all the expectations I had to set aside so I could love certain people in my life and it hit me.... “I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.” An entirely new word replaced expectations and that word was idols. I could look at these “expectations” for my parents, my sister, my in-laws, my husband, and many more and see that these were not just innocent expectations in my life these were clearly idols.

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. (Deuteronomy 5:6, 7 NIV)

'You shall not make for yourself an idol...” (Deuteronomy 5:8 NASB)

You shall have no other gods before me... You shall not make for yourself an idol.” Anything I put before God is an idol in my life.  1 John 4:8 says, “...God is love.” If God is in my heart and above everything else in my life, LOVE is what will spill out of me. If I have to set anything aside so that I am free to love with that godly love, that thing I had to set aside is an idol in my life. No matter what word I choose to call it.

I said I had to set aside my expectations so I could love.  What was keeping me from loving with a godly love?  Expectation. So now as I looked back on my past my grief and loathing took on a whole new light because what I saw was a trail of fallen idols not just expectation. God opened my eyes through His word and by His Spirit He helped me to really see.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, (Ephesians 5:25, 26 NKJV)

Expectation. What else or who else do I tend to assign a given set of expectations to?   My children. I have been asking myself these questions trying to weed out unhealthy expectations for my children. Is my discipline out of an unmet expectation or to teach them obedience to God and to love Him with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength?  Is my expectation for my children to be well behaved and respectful so that they reflect well on me? Or do I want them to be well behaved so that I am not inconvenienced in having to discipline them?

But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the people of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign Lord. (Ezekiel 44:12 NIV)

Am I serving my children in the presence of an idol that I label “expectation”?  Is my service to my children sending them in a direction to meet my expectations or to love and serve the Lord?  What picture of God’s love do I set before my children each day?  Am I like the priests of Israel who led the people into sin because they served the people in the presence of idols? 

Father God, I do not want to lead my children to sin because of my idols.  I pray that you would make them clear to me. Give me discernment and strength and rid my heart of any idols. I want an idol free life that serves with only a whole-hearted devotion in Your presence. Thank you for loving me no matter the condition of my heart. Thank You for how far You have brought me and how far You are yet to take me. I long to serve ever and only in Your presence.

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