Whom Have We Enshrined?

“What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task.” -1 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV)

A dispute had arisen within the Corinthian church. On one side of the quarrel were those who claimed loyalty to the teachings of Paul; on theGoogle+Photo other, those who adhered to the teachings of a man named Apollos. As the church quarreled over which man could claim legitimacy, Paul stepped into the fray. His answer brought the whole issue into perspective. Who was he? Who was Apollos? They were but mere men, yet served a God far greater than any human being on Earth. It was through Christ that Paul and Apollos were able to teach and preach His Word; not through any ability of their own. Therefore, only Christ is to be glorified for He is the Center of the Word and the Enabler of our faith.

It is human tendency to make idols out of anything. Our admiration of people can be taken to the extreme of putting them on a pedestal. Instead of allowing Christ to consume our minds, we pay our homage to His servants; those He has appointed to minister to us. Suddenly we find ourselves yielding to the authority of those we have enshrined in our minds instead of the greater authority of Christ. We may have constructed an image of perfection in our minds regarding the person of our worship. But the problem with placing our hopes in man is that we are prone to error. Once the reality of this fact is made known to us, we will realize how fragile a faith in man can be. When we place our hope and faith in Christ, allowing Him to work in our hearts and minds, we can take assurance in that fact that He is the Truth. Only He is mighty to save and only through Him we will be able to gain understanding of His Word. Christ is sovereign and He is able to take fallen men and use them to fulfill His perfect will for the world. But may we remember that an idolatry of man will only serve to lead us astray from the true Author and Perfector of our faith; the one who is deserving of all glory and praise.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Don’t Be Led Astray!

“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” -1 John 5:21 (NIV)

When we were children, there were things and practices which our parents told us to stay away from. A classic example of this is eating too much junk food. One day my mother bought a whole bag of cookies. Knowing my love for them she instructed me to not eat too many in one sitting. But in my childish folly I continued to devour them despite her repeated warnings. The next day I woke up with the most painful stomach ache I have ever experienced! It was in that moment that I learnt a very important lesson. I had a choice to listen to my mother and refrain from overeating. But because I chose to submit myself to my cravings, I allowed them to steer me away from the wise instruction of my mother; a decision which I had to pay the consequences for.

It is the same with idols in our lives. While an idol usually conjures up images of statues made of stone and wood, the definition of the term is much broader than that. In the eyes of God an idol is anything that draws us away from Him and living in obedience to His perfect will. Scripture tells us quite clearly that we are to keep ourselves away from them, and for good reason. Initially our idolatry may seem harmless and even enjoyable; just as how a child takes pleasure in his over-indulgence in sweets. However, we will soon realize that our idols have deceived us with their false promises of pleasure and that their sole purpose is to destroy us and our relationship with God. When we allow the Spirit of Christ to reside within us, He will not hesitate to reveal areas of our lives where we have erected idols that need to be cast aside. If we cling to these idols, we are only depriving ourselves of the restorative work He wants to conduct in our hearts. But if we submit ourselves to His Spirit and choose to abide in Him, we will find life and security that no idol on Earth can provide.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Love Beyond The Sidelines

“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?” –Proverbs 24:11-12 (NIV)

As a result of the internet, we are fed with news from around the world instantly. Shocking news items pose that dilemmatic question, “what are we going to do about it?” One popular course of action has been through the website Facebook. During the 2009 Iranian protests or the recent earthquake in Japan, Facebook pages were set up dedicated to the events in order to bring awareness. People who were sympathetic to the cause had the option of pressing the “like” button and show their support. Some have criticized the practice of “liking” causes on Facebook on the basis that it really does not do anything for the people for whom these events are a tangible reality. However, while I think this is true to an extent, I also believe it is a great way for people who are limited by distance and resources to show their solidarity with people who are halfway around the world.

Yet how often are we unwilling to get involved when we have the means to do so! Perhaps it is more comfortable for us to love in theory rather than to love in action. Anyone can say that they would give of themselves in love and service regardless of the circumstances. But when the time comes to put our words to the test, we shy away and are content with loving from the sidelines. Why this hesitance? Maybe it is because we do not want to give up what we feel is rightfully ours. Our comforts, our resources, our reputations, all of these things will prevent us from practicing the love of Christ if we have turned them into idols. It is only when we have surrendered ourselves to Christ that His love will overflow from our hearts. When we have seated Him on the throne of our lives and have allowed ourselves to be guided by His Spirit within us, He will give us His love that is fearless and absent of pride. Through Him guiding us in His love, our words of compassion will not be just words, but actions backed by the desire to see God save the lost and heal the broken.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.