In this season of resolutions and self-help, where we focus so heavily on ourselves, let’s delve into idolatry - putting something (or someone) else in the place of God.
These seven weeks are brought to you by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who serves the Native community of Winnebago, Nebraska.
Greetings to you in the Name of our Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
I have been reading a book by Michael Lockwood, entitled 'The Unholy Trinity.' Now, just who makes up this Unholy Trinity? The Unholy Trinity is 'Me, Myself, and I.'
I begin today with this quote of Lockwood: “'What a burden to be bound by my own self-love!…
" ‘Look out for number one.’ Find some ‘me time.’ Learn to love yourself. These are often touted as the recipe for happiness in our society. However, it is when we learn to forget about ourselves by delighting in the Lord and his will that we discover the joy and beauty of life as God created it to be.” (76)
Lockwood noted: “One trend a number of scholars have observed in contemporary American society is a rise in narcissistic behaviors and attitudes. People on average have become more focused on the pursuit of their desires and less constrained by moral concerns or by loyalty to other people. (78)…
“At the top of the list of idols in our culture is the pursuit of personal happiness. . . The vast majority of religious believers in America are convinced that the purpose of religion is to serve their own well-being. (81) …
“One question before us today is how can one proclaim the Christian message without feeding this idolatry? Part of the answer is to expose the futility of the self-interest and self-directed pursuit of happiness. We can preach about the futility of trying to get the universe to revolve around us and our desires, and the misery that results when we try to force it to do so. We can teach that true joy is found, not in selfish pursuing our own interests, not even in a spiritual way, but instead in forgetting about ourselves and delighting only in the Lord and his will.” (91-92)
I end where I started: “What a burden to be bound by my own self-love!” But how liberating to be caught up in love for the Lord instead.
This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words from the third chapter of Proverbs: “'Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" [Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV].