Bound to God

By LuAnn Edwards 

What can we learn from a belt? In Jeremiah Chapter 13, during a time when most of the Children of Israel were worshiping idols, God told Jeremiah to buy a belt (sash) and bind it around his waist. In the same way, God wants us to be bound to Him.

God told Jeremiah to hide the belt in the rocks, and many days later He told him to go back and get the belt. When Jeremiah retrieved the belt, he found it ruined and completely useless.

This tattered belt represented the people who had not listened to God, who were ruined and no longer bound to the Lord. People who once had intimacy with God were now without Him and bound instead by pride to counterfeit gods.

Are we, too, bound to idols and counterfeit gods? Has something or someone taken God’s place in our lives?

“An idol is whatever you look at and say in your heart, ‘If I have that then I will feel like my life has meaning, then I will know I have value, then I will feel significant and secure.’” – Timothy Keller, author

Pastor Cook described three examples of counterfeit gods in our lives: money, another person, and ourselves. Listen to the podcast here.

Money is good for buying necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing. However, money can be unreliable. 1 Timothy 6:17 tells us not to put hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put our hope in God who provides us with everything. Money can also cause us to wander from the faith. 1 Timothy 6:10 says that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

We often elevate another person to the place God should hold. We bind ourselves to our spouse, a friend, or a child. They become the object of our deepest affection, the most important thing in our lives. God desires this place of honor. He wants us to love and enjoy other people, but He should be the one we adore and worship.

It is not difficult to find people consumed with themselves. “I deserve to be happy. It’s all about me and making me feel good. How many likes can I get on my selfie? How important am I to my friends?” We need to be on guard to make sure we do not elevate ourselves to the place where God longs to be.

What is God asking you to live without? Which idol is of greatest value to you? Are you going to place your security in money, another person, yourself, or be bound to God?


True Decisions

By Karen Polich

Does God have your total devotion?

In his True sermon series, Pastor Michael Cook asked the question, “What is competing with God for your devotion?” (Listen here.) Read 1 Samuel 4, 1 Samuel 7.

The Bible is clear about God’s command: “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) In biblical days, idol worship was easier to spot than it is today. During those times idol worship often revolved around statues and false gods. Today the lines are blurred.

We may not bow down to a golden calf, but God doesn’t always come first in our lives. We allow other things to consume us. Our idols come in many forms. Our focus on success, control, a relationship, past pain or our bank account is a problem when it rivals the attention we give God. Often when one idol fails us, we quickly swap it out for another one. Idols build in our hearts and we decide to follow paths that turn us away from Him.

Discerning the need to add and subtract what rules our lives is a monumental decision. Clarity from God can give us the ability to identify what needs to be removed from our lives.

Remember Samuel? Samuel kept his focus on God. Eli’s sons were focused elsewhere. God prepared Samuel along the way while those around him served themselves. What needs to go or be adjusted so that God comes first? Does God need to be added as the center of our lives?

God’s preparation in our lives is frequently subtle and small. We can look back and see where He was moving us towards Him. Sometimes we don’t see it until we are in a big moment and it suddenly seems clear.

Could today be the beginning of a season of change, marked by a decision to give God our full attention?