It’s a new year, which means it’s time for new commitments, new goals and new energy. It’s an interesting thing about the first of every year in that people seem to get motivated; some begin to eat better or exercise, some work on dropping a bad habit, others commit to start going to church again. But in my experience, the majority of us who have that new flame of renewal allow it to go out. I ask myself over and over why that is. Is it because we get bored? Is it because it’s too much work? How about because we move on to the next thing that we believe will fulfill us - a new idol?
NEW YEAR, NEW IDOL
Do you remember the story of Abraham and Isaac? God had promised Abraham a son. The funny thing was that Abraham was older than dirt at this point in his life, but God delivered on His promise. He and Sarah gave birth to a son named Isaac. In Genesis 22 we can recount the story of Abraham being tested by God.
In verse 2 it says “Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love-Isaac- and go to the region of Moriah.” If you know the story, God sent Abraham out to sacrifice his son. At the moment Isaac was about to put the blade to his son, God stopped him. In verse 12 God said “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham held dear to the promise that God gave to him. He held so tightly that Isaac started to border on being an idol. What was once about God’s promise had become more about the gift itself.
THE PROMISES OF GOD
A.W. Tozer in his book The Pursuit of God (1948) says it best:
“From that moment when he first stooped to take the tiny form awkwardly in his arms he was an eager love slave of his son. God went out of His way to comment on the strength of this affection. And it is not hard to understand. The baby represented everything sacred to his father’s heart: the promises of God, the covenants, the hope of the years and the long messianic dream. As he watched him grow from babyhood to young manhood the heart of the old man was knit closer and closer with the life of his son, till at last the relationship bordered upon the perilous. It was then that God stepped in to save both father and son from the consequences of an uncleansed love.” (Tozer, page 23)
Heavy words, but let’s stop for a minute and ask the same question of our own lives. Do we take the blessings of God, maybe a new year with new opportunities, and force it to become an idol? Do we obsess over what we look like or what we’ll wear. I’m not saying those are bad things; neither was Isaac, but maybe this new year should be less about the next commitment that we’ll probably forget about in a month or two and more about the blessings and promises of a fulfilled relationship with Jesus.
ALIGNING OUR LIVES WITH JESUS
I’m a firm believer that when our lives align and move with Jesus, then the rest will fall into place. I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but putting Him first will reveal the motive of the heart and bring us back to the throne room of God where we can worship at His feet.
Abraham was an amazing man of God, but He too allowed himself to worship the created and not the Creator. Today, this week, this year let your new year’s resolution be a renewed relationship with Jesus, not with another idol that will fail.