Hidden idols in the heart are the obstacles to empowerment from God. If there are no hidden idols, then there are no obstacles, and God’s grace and power flow naturally and easily.
When Achan through covetousness hid the spoil of Jericho for himself, the power of the entire army of Israel was broken (Joshua 7). Similarly, if covetousness (which is idolatry of possessions) or any other form of idolatry has taken hold in our hearts, in however slight measure, then our spiritual power is entirely broken. We experience confusion, defeat, and despair. The life of God is cut off; the glory of Israel is departed (1 Sam. 4:21).
Achan’s idolatry was hidden. So oftentimes our idolatries are hidden deep within the heart. Secret idolatry is rampant among Christians, due to the fact that we take our habits and standards for living, not from God, but from those around us. This is covetousness as rank as Achan’s.
We all must admit the possibility that unconscious idolatry has taken hold in our hearts: “The heart of man is desperately wicked, who can know it? I the LORD search the heart and test the inward parts, and give each according to his ways” (Jer. 17:9). But if the idols are hidden, then how may we know that they are there? Outward symptoms make this plain – for “out of the the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Here are some outward symptoms of inward idolatry:
When our hearts are prepared
by repentance and contrition, the return of the Spirit is quick and easy.
On Mount Carmel, Elijah prayed the simplest of prayers, and the fire fell
upon the altar (1 Kings 18:36-38). On the day of Pentecost,
when after seven days of the disciples had finally put aside their differences
and became united in body, soul, and spirit, then the fire fell suddenly
and instantly (Acts 2:2-4).
Prayer: Father, through Your Spirit write these four events on our hearts,that they might govern our lives.
Copyright © 1998 CrossPollen
Last Revised: September 19, 2002
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