In what ways do you look to idols in life? This could be from holding a hero or popular figure of society higher than they should be in admiration (such s seen with actors, bands, etc). For some, it's addictions, having a more primary centre in one's life that seems uncontrollable. All of these things can be viewed as forms of idolatry, and all of which take us away from having God as centre of our lives. In the times of the Israelites, the people held on to idols, images and other gods, putting their focus on something other than faith in their one Creator, and all giving God. We all take on having forms of idols in our lives, the kinds that don't need to be, and it's time to refocus.
Today's First Reading states:'And the LORD said to Moses, "Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'" And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make a great nation." But Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD, why does thy wrath burn hot against thy people, whom thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, `With evil intent did he bring them forth, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou didst swear by thine own self, and didst say to them, `I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.'" And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people' (Exodus 32:7-14).
Today's reading talks about how God always guides His people back to Him, even if they seem to go astray. We are told to turn, to repent and hide our hearts from things and people that try to pull us away from lasting love and life in God, our Father. Lent is a great time to think about the changes you can make in your spiritual life, and looking at areas where it's possible to pull away from the world and put more focus on God is definitely a good starting point. Take some time today to ask God make Him your centre.
Today's prayer comes from 'anchored in Christ' a prayer to avoid idolatry:
Father, You are so glorious and merciful. You created every good thing, and still You would choose to redeem me and make me Your treasure. There’s nothing I could do to deserve this mercy in Christ, yet You lavish it upon me in ways too great to fully comprehend.
And yet my sinful heart draws me away from You to other things—sometimes subtly, and sometimes deliberately. This idolatrous world, my weak flesh, and our cunning enemy entice my heart to set my affections on aspects of Your creation instead of loving and honoring You as Creator. Why would I turn to an object of wood or stone or flesh or plastic or metal that cannot speak or heal or feel or understand or save? Because my sin blinds me to spiritual reality and makes me a fool.
Lord, rip off the blinders! Untangle the webs of sin that have encapsulated my heart and drawn me from You! Forgive me for my gross spiritual adultery and have mercy on me, a sinner!
Loving and sovereign Lord, don’t leave me in this wretched place, but give me a pure and undivided heart that comes before You in awe at Your power, majesty, glory, and mercy. Keep me from trying to quench my thirst with filthy water from broken cisterns, rather continually draw my heart to Christ, the all-satisfying wellspring of Living Water. Make serving idols so despicable and so unsatisfying to my soul that I would quickly confess the smallest step toward sin and run with all my might to the cross in worshipful repentance.
Keep me from worshipping the many good gifts You have given me instead of thanking and worshiping You for them. Keep me from the smallest hint of idolatry and remind me during temptation that to choose an idol is to reject grace and grieve Your Spirit. Remind me that the wicked worship of money, sex, power, family, possessions, or work is both worthless and tragically foolish, like trying to quench my thirst with a gallon of saltwater. Discipline me in your grace when I stray, and convict me by Your Spirit.
Lord, You know that even on my best days I sin against You. From my disappointment, fix the eyes of my heart continually on the grace You poured out on the cross. May that cross take away all shame and free me to worship You by drawing near in joyful repentance and fully hoping in the beautiful restoration You bring in Christ. More than anything, bind my wandering heart to You in joyful worship, knowing that for this reason I was created.
We pray all of these things in the mighty name of Jesus,