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#1 Revdavid

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 04:44 PM

I don't want it to be so; but I think that there are some things (right and wholesome things); that I put ahead of the Lord in my life. Maybe I'm too hard on myself, but I wonder. Anyone else struggle with this, and how do you deal with it.
In Christ our Healer,
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#2 Joel Stoddert

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 05:06 PM

I don't want it to be so; but I think that there are some things (right and wholesome things); that I put ahead of the Lord in my life. Maybe I'm too hard on myself, but I wonder. Anyone else struggle with this, and how do you deal with it.


David, I can definitely relate. I think any honest believer can, as it seems to be human nature to make idols. They are, as you say, are often good in themselves, just not meant to take the Lord's place in our hearts. I don't know if I'd call holding yourself accountable to the Lord in this area being too hard on yourself, but the fact you have a heart for putting Him first suggests to me that you don't have a major problem with idolatry.

#3 Julie Daube

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 11:04 AM

I agree with Joel - any honest believer can relate to this struggle. I even have a family member who says that if it comes down to taking the Mark of the Beast or not being able to feed his family, he's not sure what he'll do. So, yes, we are all tempted to put other things, even good things like caring for our families, ahead of God. But like Joel said, the fact that you want to put God first indicates that you don't have a real problem with idolatry.

And I also think that many believers are too hard on themselves - about a lot of things. Perhaps it will help you to focus more on your identity in Christ than on whatever shortcomings you think you have. I find that helps me when I am beating myself up about something.

Who I am in Christ:

I am holy and without blame before Him in love (I Peter 1:16; Ephesians 1:4).
I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:21).
I am forgiven of all my sin and washed in the Blood (Ephesians 1:7).
I am free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
I am greatly loved by God (Colossians 3:12; Romans 1:7; I Thessalonians 1:4; Ephesians 2:4).
I am a new creation in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17).
I am more than a conqueror through Him Who loves me (Romans 8:37).
I am an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony (Revelation 12:11).

#4 Denes House

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 02:50 PM

For what it's worth - Lent is coming up! Lent is a period of time that Christians throughout the centuries have set aside to root out precisely things like this. How can you tell if something has a hold on you? Let it go, and see if it tightens its grip. Lent is a great time to let it go, and focus solely on God for your provision.
For those who are wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove..."

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#5 Mark Wood

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 06:33 PM

I don't want it to be so; but I think that there are some things (right and wholesome things); that I put ahead of the Lord in my life. Maybe I'm too hard on myself, but I wonder. Anyone else struggle with this, and how do you deal with it.


Julie's thoughts about our identity in Christ is excellent. Here are some thoughts that have helped me

1) Be up front about what we are talking about. Its always hard to identify what the Bible says about "things." However what we are really talking about is idolatry. Idols can be made out of anything even those things, that you observed, that are entirely wholesome and good. Anything that we long for more that God is an idol and as Calvin rightly said "Our hearts are idol making factories." John in his epistles has some cogent things to say about idolatry.
2) Fighting idols needs to take place in our heart as we reflect on who Christ is and who we our in light of our identity. This is another way of reflecting and rejoicing in the Gospel. Spend some time thinking and reflecting on the cross and what was accomplished there. Through this begin to challenge some of your motives- why am I desiring or longing for this idol?
3) Denes gives good thought with lent. Use it as a time to refrain from things and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in conviction. Also use others in your church to help you reflect on these things.

#6 Jay Turner

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 07:23 PM

I don't want it to be so; but I think that there are some things (right and wholesome things); that I put ahead of the Lord in my life. Maybe I'm too hard on myself, but I wonder. Anyone else struggle with this, and how do you deal with it.


I think I would start by asking God's opinion on the matter. If it is something you are putting before Him, He will show you. If it has become an idol in your life, the next thing I would ask is whether it is something that He would have you let go of or redeem. Many of the things that become idols in our lives are idols simply because we haven't invited God to be part of it. It may be something where by letting God be a part of it, He may be able to show you how it can be used for His glory.

#7 Julie Daube

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:17 AM

I think I would start by asking God's opinion on the matter. If it is something you are putting before Him, He will show you. If it has become an idol in your life, the next thing I would ask is whether it is something that He would have you let go of or redeem. Many of the things that become idols in our lives are idols simply because we haven't invited God to be part of it. It may be something where by letting God be a part of it, He may be able to show you how it can be used for His glory.

That's a very interesting insight, Jay! I've never thought about idolatry in those terms, but you make a good point. Many of the "good" things that have become idols shouldn't be relinquished per se, but should be submitted to God.

#8 Brian Elmer

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 06:13 PM

I believe that the 'things' are something that the Lord works daily to reprioritize. The recognition that He is above all others is first and foremost. But I also feel that the way that occurs in our lives is deciding to surrender daily to Him. Of course, that surrender comes much easier the more we realize what He has really done for us. I like to think of the parable of the Prodigal Son. Tim Keller's book, Prodigal God does a great job showing the issues with both sons. Both are sons, but both respond to the father differently because of how what they have experienced. The other book that expresses issues in this is Unconditional by Brian Zahnd. As he addresses the issue of forgiveness he makes it really clear that the understanding of what Christ did for us, living lives that express forgiveness, and letting that effect everything we see (looking through that forgiveness like the younger son), changes how see Him in our lives. We begin to value Him above things, issues, and situations. I have also found that seeing things in the realm of eternity has transformed my love for Him.

I guess I just don't think it's as easy saying "I value God above others". There has to be transformation of the heart so that we desire to value Him above all others. It's like growing in love. In that, self becomes less and He becomes more.

#9 Joel Stoddert

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 06:57 PM

I guess I just don't think it's as easy saying "I value God above others". There has to be transformation of the heart so that we desire to value Him above all others. It's like growing in love. In that, self becomes less and He becomes more.


Very well, said, Brian. Couldn't agree more!