I would say that all the misery in the world comes down to idolatry. That is, exchanging the one true God for some shallow substitute. When Eve fell for the serpent’s deception, the thing that appealed to her was being like God. That is the heart of idolatry. We want something beyond ourselves to serve us. Sometimes Lord, I believe people make You into an idol. I think I did it for years, because my agenda was for You bless me in all my endeavors. Basically, I wanted You to follow and serve me. My understanding of You was something I made up to suit my own desires, and it was certainly fed by a host of popular television preachers and teachers. Surely You want to bless your people, but blessings come in dying to self, not naming and claiming a self-serving agenda.
When I used to read the Old Testament, I used to marvel at how quickly Israel turned to idols. You would perform a miracle of their behalf, and soon after they were bowing down to things made by human hands. All I could thing was how stupid it was, but now I realize that the Israelites were simply following the natural human predisposition. It is something we all struggle with, and probably will until we see your face. Although most Christians don’t set up statues to worship, we have a host of other idols. We worship other people, money, pleasure, physical attractiveness, and so on. We desire other things more than we love You, and they begin to rule and enslave us. The bottom line is that we worship ourselves. Often it shows up in the form of worry, because worry is a form of meditation. Whatever we meditate on will tend to control us, and if it is not You, it’s an idol.
It’s so easy to fall into it, and I catch myself from time to time. When I start worrying about loved ones, I find myself trying to figure out ways to fix it or control the situation. I meditate on it, and act like the situation is just too big for You, or that You don’t see or care about it. Please forgive me! Today Lord, I am tearing down all the altars to false gods in my life. I am surrendering the “high places” in my heart to You. Please don’t let me be like the Old Testament kings who served You, but still failed to destroy the idols in the land. Help me have a heart that is fully devoted to You. I know how weak I am, but I also know how good You are, and knowing You is the solution to idolatry. If I am bowing before some desire, or meditating on some fear, it is because I have forgotten who You really are. You are the Lover of my soul. You promise to work everything together for my good, and You love me so much that I should not be moved by the storms of life. I can rest in the knowledge that You have my loved ones and my desires in the palms of your loving hands (Is. 49:16).
My child, you are right that idolatry is at the heart of sin, and sin is what separates people from Me. It all starts with believing lies. When people fail to understand my great love, they fashion gods for themselves to satisfy their desires. Perfect love casts out fear, and those who fear do so because they do not know I am good or that I desire the very best for them (1 Jn.4:18). They let people or experiences form their view of Me, and they perish for a lack of knowledge (Hos.4:6). My truth is available to all, but they suppress the truth and choose lies, because they do not want to be held accountable (Rom. 1:18-25). My holiness offends them, so they choose to make gods in their own unholy image. It grieves me, because I do not desire to see anyone perish (Mt. 18:14). I came that they might have life, and they choose death. I came to bring light, and they choose darkness (Jn. 1:9-10). Yet, the light still shines in the darkness. Your task is to first remove all idols from your life so that you can be a vessel directing my light into the darkness. You are not responsible for the outcome, only for being obedient to let your light shine before men (Mt. 5:16). The world hates Me, and it will hate you as well, but continue to shine (Jn. 15:18). The message will not be popular, but I am still accomplishing my purposes on Earth in the hearts and lives of those who truly know Me. Do not be discouraged, I have overcome the world and the darkness cannot overcome my light (Jn. 1:5, 16:33).