Daily Blog Email
I hope you’re part of a group of brothers and sisters in Christ with whom you study the Scriptures and to whom you share your deepest longings and struggles. The Lord works miracles through Christian community.
The Lord has really been convicting me lately, and he used my community group this week to open my eyes to my sin.
As long as I can remember, I’ve set long-term goals and planned how I would go about achieving them.
I can remember being in the drop-off line at the beginning of my fifth grade school year and telling my mom, “I’m going to have perfect attendance this year so that I can win the ‘John Steiner Award,'” which was an award presented to a graduating fifth grader each year who exemplified scholarship, leadership, and citizenship.
I had no idea if attendance had anything to do with who won, but my 11-year-old self was bound and determined not to given them any reason not to deny me the award.
I won it. Seriously.
How proud of it am I? I visited my elementary school this spring, 14 years later, and snapped this picture of it. That’s how proud.
In 2008-2009, when I was a senior in high school, I said to myself, “In the next five-to-ten years, I want to marry Susan Roth, have a good job, and have a house.”
It’s 2016, seven years later, and I’m married to Susan Roth (now Martin), I have a good job, and I have a house.
Good for me, right? Sure, I’m deeply thankful that the Lord has blessed me with my wife, my house, and my job. But beyond that, I’m thankful that the Lord has been convicting me since we bought our house in April.
I have everything I ever wanted, and my life isn’t perfect. This was difficult to accept at first, but the Lord has been growing me through it.
The last couple of months, I have been reminded of the fragility of human life. No one close to me has passed away or been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, but I’ve been hyper-aware of our fragility none-the-less.
I was worn down a bit this summer, Susie has been stressed out recently, and, as anyone who is married can tell you, when your spouse is stressed, you bear that burden, too.
I mentioned in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been clenching my jaw in my sleep, I’ve been snotty because of allergy season, and I’m just too busy for my own good.
In this time, I really feel like the Lord has been communicating to me, “You have everything you ever wanted, and you haven’t reached the pinnacle of life, have you?”
When we make idols, it’s easy to think that when we appease the idol—whether that be earning the promotion, getting the girl, or otherwise—that life will transition from a frenzied pursuit to a peaceful respite.
Before we bought our house, part of me thought, “Once we have a house, life will be good, we’ll start a family, and we’ll just be living the dream.”
In some ways, this is true. We’re blessed and have been given far more than we deserve, so in that sense, we are “living the dream.” But it’s not quite as utopian as I had imagined it would be, and that’s good, because the Lord has been disciplining me through it.
Whether you’re making an idol of your spouse, your job, or the achievement of goals, like me, when you finally reap the fruit of your idolatry, you realize it’s more like a rotten apple than a ripe one.
Our idols cannot bear the weight of our idolatry because when we expect our spouse or our job to be our God, it is unable to fulfill our expectations. We break our idols and blame them for it.
Thankfully, when we make idols and break them with the weight of our expectations, God doesn’t leave us where we are. He is still God, and he is there for us to worship when we finally realize our idols aren’t worthy of our worship.
When we bought our house and I realized life wasn’t automatically going to be picture-perfect, God didn’t leave me in my disappointment. The Holy Spirit convicted me, opened my eyes to my sin, and led me to repent of it, thanking God for the discipline.
It’s not fun to recognize your idolatry; it reminds you of your sin.
But, when we recognize our idols are insufficient and turn to God, he has not turned his back on us and left us in our sin. He is still there, waiting to accept us and our worship.