Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Commandment number one. Sounds simple enough. Yet, recent readings of mine have reminded me that anything that stands in the way between me and God is an idol -- another god I'm putting before him. Now, I've knocked down many idols in my 43 years of life, but I'm not so arrogant as to believe others haven't risen in their place. So, what is my current idol of choice?
I like my life comfortable. I want my house the right temperature -- and my car. I want food that's easy to cook and eat and very satisfying to the taste buds. I want my big smooshy sofa with piles of afghans in the winter. I wrote on FB a while back how much I love hot showers, and a mission-minded friend commented back, "Well you won't want to go to Haiti then!" And he's right -- a lack of warm bathing water could very well be enough to keep me away. I know the thought of the hassle of living with a mass of teenagers has kept me from chaperoning on youth mission trips from the church.
But it's not even just physical comfort that an issue for me. I know I should invite these people over to our house for dinner sometime . . . make some social gesture to open a door for a genuine relationship . . . but, you know, they're not necessarily our kind of people -- I don't know what we'd talk about -- I might then feel an obligation to accept invitations from them that I wouldn't enjoy -- they might bring up awkward topics I don't know how to address -- it would be, you know, uncomfortable.
Yep, comfort and ease -- those are my idols. The things that stand in the way between me and God today. I only mention this because I'm certain I'm not alone in America in this day and age. So, what do we do about this? I read scripture about sharing in Christ's suffering and I get nervous. I could pray for God to bring suffering into my life so I can share in his suffering, but really that would be stupid . . . because God knows my heart and knows that would be a bunch of BS. It would also be scary.
So, short of choosing to sell all I own and live with the lepers in Calcutta, I'm not sure how to wean myself from this idol. Suggestions are welcome.