I could easily berate myself for falling to prey to the devil’s wiles once again. After all, I once again became consumed with numbers. Numbers? Yes, the number on the scale. How low could I go? I based my mood on the number. Lower? Better. Higher? Worse. I remember more than once kneeling down on the ground to pull the scale out from under the bathroom sink cabinet so I could step on it once more. As I knelt to the ground, this is what came to me. I had just gotten out of bed to begin the day. I should have been bowing down to God to begin my day with a prayer. Instead, I was bowing down to a scale to determinate my worth. Hadn’t I learned this lesson already? Shouldn’t I have been well past this? Mustn’t I condemn myself? Actually, the devil would have loved that. But instead, I chose to realize something else entirely.
How blessed I am that the Lord would allow me to go back to the garbage dump to get rid of the scale. He could have given up on me long ago. In fact, he should have given up on me long ago. But He has not. Nor will He, not so long as I continue to pursue Him. The Lord did not punish me for returning to an old idol. Instead, He lovingly, gently, compassionately, patiently, led me back to Himself – and back to His mercy seat where His mercy never runs out.
Interestingly, as I sit and write this piece, my 14.5 year old Jack Russell who is exhibiting obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms that I have allowed to put me over the edge once again in the past few days, began his amazingly annoying habit once again that I have tried countless times to teach him to stop. He began the compulsive behavior just as I was writing this. I immediately responded with everything but God’s love. I was not loving, gentle, compassionate, or patient. I did not offer him mercy. Instead, I moved him quickly and angrily back into his crate so he would stop annoying me.
Can you imagine if God acted this way toward us? I have done exactly what my dog does. I have exhibited the same wrong behavior time and again. And yet, God has never stopped loving me. He has never stopped extending His mercy to me so long as I turn to Him with godly sorrow and in confession of my wrongdoing. Each time I have given up an idol, no matter how many times I have had to give it up before, the Lord has opened His arms to me and embraced me with a sweet smile and a tender mercy.
So why do I not do the same with my dog, and with others? What a very long way I have to go. But at least I can say I have one idol less in my life – and am one step closer to where I am determined to go. I want to go all the way with the Lord. And, toward that end, I will now go back to His mercy seat. Though I have one idol less to confess to Him, I have a wrongdoing that needs to be confessed once more. I did not treat my dog the way the Lord has treated me. I will seek and receive the Lord’s forgiveness, and then I will bow down to the ground to do something I must do.
I will take my dog from his crate, ask him to forgive me for not showing him mercy, thank God for putting this sweet dog in my care, pet him for a bit, and then take the next step forward in my life.
If you have returned to an old idol, or have an idol in your life that needs letting go, why not take it to the garbage? Why not enter into the throne room of the most high God, why not through faith in Jesus Christ seek and receive the forgiveness the Lord has for you, and why not move forward in your life where the Lord is calling?
These days, I feel I fall farther short than ever. It seems the road ahead gets increasingly narrow, the journey becomes increasingly hard, and my circumstances threaten to squeeze the breath out of me. But one thing I can say for sure. I do not walk this journey alone. I get to walk with my Beloved – my precious First Love, Jesus.
Lev 19:4 “Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.”