God’s Grace Verses Our Idols


 Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, because he did not want to spend too much time in Asia. He was in a hurry and wanted to be in Jerusalem in time for Pentecost.

~Acts 20:16, CEV


Everything is life is eventually taken away from us after a tragically brief time of enjoyment.

~Timothy Keller

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Keller is right on target–eventually everything will be taken from us. All of our earthly idols will be shattered. I lifted weights in college. I never really got into body building but I was in shape. I served a small church in West Limestone my senior year in college and a very nice lady, Mrs. Elbert Camp, tapered all my shirts because my shoulders were much wider than my waist. Of course I got married two years later and that all changed. June told me some 25 years ago, “You are a candidate for a heart attack.” I said, “What makes you think that?” She said, “You are pear shaped.” I don’t wear tapered shirts anymore, I wear bell-bottom or fat boy shirts. A trim lean body can become an idol but don’t worry, God in His grace will shatter that idol someday–you can count on it. I love the LORD Jesus for many reasons but one is His gentleness. He knew how messed up I was from day one but He keeps gently nudging me along and destroying my idols one by one. It is amazing how patient He is: He could destroy them all at once but you and I might not recover from such drastic action so He gently removes them from our hands and throws them to the pavement where they shatter before I very eyes. It is not a bad thing: with each shattered idol, Jesus becomes a bigger part of our lives, sweeter and more beautiful than before.

It comforts me to know that Paul, the great Missionary and Apologist, was human. Years after Paul’s conversion, he still has some idols. Paul could not let Judaism go: the Jew in him would not surrender. He is in a hurry to get to Pentecost, for what reason, Jesus has fulfilled Pentecost. He fulfilled all the Jewish festivals. Deep down, Paul understood this truth but Jerusalem and Judaism were a couple of his idols. He was bound and determined to go to Jerusalem. All his friends told him not to go but he paid them no attention. He told the Ephesians, “I am going and nothing is going to stop me. People keep telling me not to go, that bad things will happen if I do but I am going anyway. I don’t care what happens to me, I am going.” I am reading between the lines but I wonder if Paul didn’t think about dying in Jerusalem at the hands of the Jews just as Christ did. Well, we all know the story. In Jerusalem, Paul get arrested and the Jews are after his blood. The ugly scene outside the soldier’s barracks shattered Paul’s idol. He was thrilled to get out of Dodge. Once the Romans got him in Caesarea, Paul refused the invitation to got back to Jerusalem. He said, “No” to Jerusalem and yes to Rome and you never hear Paul mention getting back to Jerusalem for any reason. The LORD Jesus crushed that idol. It no longer existed. If you are a follower of Christ, He is, by grace, going to crush every idol and vanquish every foe. In the end, it will be you and Jesus–no idols of any shape, form or fashion. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE DISAPPOINTED. Jesus is all we need.

What a beautiful day. I was tempted to work in the yard or the garden but Wednesday is my Shut-in visitation day. Everyone on my list were doing well. I may do a “Yard project” Friday if anyone is off an wants to help: Grass cutting, weed-eating, brush-burning, etc. Just call if you want to help: I have the equipment and gas. I could use another good weed-eater. Last week was not a good week for me or for a lot of my friends. Of course we have problems and everyone knows it but our friends have greater problems and I can’t share them. Just pray for me as I pray for them. Right now, our problems pale in comparison to others.

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