And, it’s a wrap! Christmas 2017 is in the books. I hope it was all you dreamed it would be. Sometimes, the expectations can fall way short of the reality. I remember having my heart set on a certain game as a young child and being mighty happy when I found my heart’s desire under the Christmas tree. Sadly, however, its plastic parts didn’t even make it to New Year’s Day. My shiny new prize flashed and faded as quickly as the dime-store sparklers our parents bought for our end of the year celebration.
I think we’ve all had that experience to some degree, amen?
There’s a lot of truth to the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.” Setting our affections on the wrong prize can be heartbreaking. And now I’m talking about more than Christmas toys. I’m thinking of a Scripture verse from Jonah 2:8, “Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy.” Let’s unpack that a little.
An idol is whatever or whoever holds the highest focus in our lives. It’s whatever we’re living for; it’s wherever our hopes are pinned.
Whatever we are living for is what we are worshipping? Mercy, that brings our verse into sharp focus. Let me put it in a first person warning for myself: If the success of the words I write that turn into the books I sell are occupying a higher priority in my life that my relationship with God, my work has become an idol and I’m trading it on the open market at the expense of my own soul. Gulp. I commit to hearing and heeding that warning.
Now, what about you? What dreams, what goals, what expectations of yours have the potential of becoming an idol in your life? While you consider the question, we’ll take a look at another translation of those words from Jonah. The ESV reads, “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.”
Are you seeing it? Our idols, our life goals that compete with God for our attention and affection, these are the very things than can cause us to forsake the mercy and the steadfast love that we are longing for in the deepest places of our souls, places that can only be found, and filled, by the One who made us. In other words, let’s be careful what we wish for, because we just might get it. In other words, as 2018 begins, my prayer is that you and I will hear and heed the warning found in those holy words. Let’s be careful what we wish for, we might just get it.