"King Joram demanded, 'Do you come in peace, Jehu?' Jehu replied, 'How can there be peace as long as the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother, Jezebel, are all around us?'" 2 Kings 9:22 (NIV) (King Joram was Ahab and Jezebel's son.)
Are you at peace?
True peace is something everyone wants, whether or not they see that it comes from a relationship with God. Something that struck me about the stories of the many leaders in 1 and 2 Kings is that when faced with the opportunity to remove all of the pagan idols, many chose to remove only some. Obedience to God inevitably led to a choice...following God alone or letting idols survive. Many people have cultural roots that connect with practices that involve idol or ancestor worship. These can rob us of true peace. Regardless of geographical location, there are idols (visible or invisible) that threaten the peace of our hearts. It is difficult work towards tearing down all the idols of our hearts; it is, however, something that can be done through God's help. Sometimes, it involves the physical destruction of objects in the home. Sometimes, it requires different choices to be made with actions that show our devotion to God alone. At times, it can even be our words or thoughts that must be changed to show that we are more devoted to God than whatever distraction is consuming more of our attention.
What needs to be removed and/or replaced to have total peace in God?
Let us be like Josiah, who even at a young age knew that all the idols must be destroyed to honor God and to lead his people in the way that was most pleasing to Him. Let us ask for wisdom and discernment to recognize any actions, habits of mind, objects, or anything else that has been set above knowing Christ. Let us be also like Hezekiah who "...did what was pleasing in the LORD'S sight, just as his ancestor David had done. He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it..." 2 Kings 18:3-4
I am praying for you as you courageously ask God, "What are the idols of my heart?" May God be glorified as friends and family see the fruits of peace in your life. It is with no other god that true peace is possible. May our Lord God protect and keep you as you seek to honor Him.
Replacing idols with Truth
When removing idols, replace them with Truth (Words of the Bible) through reading scripture, memorizing, and posting scripture verses in places where you will see them frequently.
Further Reading: 2 Kings 17: 7-38 (click here)
What if you do not know God?
Peace stems from a relationship with God. Although you may have searched elsewhere, nothing will satisfy your soul like God.
*All mankind is separated from God by sin. Sin is making choices like lying or stealing that offend God according to His 10 Commandments. (Exodus 20:1-17)
*A price must be paid for sin. In the old testament (before the birth of Christ) people would sacrifice their best animals and grain as sin offerings. This practice had to be repeated many times during their lifetimes because they would sin again and need to repeat the cycle of sacrifice. (Romans 5:12)
*Jesus Christ, God's son, was born on earth. He is sinless and perfect, the only sinless man to ever live. (1 John 5:1-5)
*He became the one-time sacrifice for our sins when he died on the cross, so that whoever believes in Him will be saved from sin and have eternal life in Heaven.(Romans 6:23)
*Believing in God and receiving Christ as your savior transforms your life both on earth and after you die. The Holy Spirit will be with you and guide you as you grow in your knowledge of God and in your relationship with Him. He is the most loving Father and most devoted friend. He will never leave or forsake you. He loves you. (Hebrews 9:14-15, Deuteronomy 31:6 and 8, and Ephesians 3:16-19)
*Prayer is talking with God. You can speak directly with God. You can ask Him to forgive your sins and receive Christ as the sacrifice to pay the price for your sins. You can talk with Him as your heavenly Father and your friend. Amazing things can be accomplished and learned through prayer! (James 5:13-18)
*Welcome to a Big Family! As a believer in Christ, you have a big, beautiful family that is filled with brothers and sisters of many ages and nationalities. Family will (and does!) pray for you, celebrate with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and grow with you. We are all being transformed in the image of Christ, learning to be more like Him. It is a process that involves patience and sometimes hardship, but it is with joy that we have God and family with us each step of the way. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)