INSIDE OUT • House of Cards – 6/2/24

Last week we talked about image in terms of our looks, body type, appearance. The world has an image that is acceptable and beautiful, but many of us fall short of that image. Understanding how God sees us and realizing that His opinion is all that matters makes all the difference.

The same is true when it comes to our image in terms of success, accomplishments, and recognition. The markers for success start early. Parents brag about their toddlers’ early accomplishments of walking, talking, the first tooth; all are indications of genius!

There’s pressure to perform in the playroom, classroom, on the court, on the field, and in the lab. A person who was raised in a performance-driven environment, equates acceptance and approval with success. As adults those individuals are likely to continue the pattern. People throw away marriages, and relationships with their children, family, and friends, making a sacrifice to the idol of image. 

God says that we are not to have any gods before Him. When we give ourselves, our time, talents, and energies to something other than God, we are worshipping it, and God calls that idolatry!

Luke records that a rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus knew the root of his affection was his wealth, so he told him to sell all he had and give to the poor. The young man went away with great sorrow because he couldn’t part with his riches. Jesus doesn’t tell everyone to sell all they have, but for this young man, it was his idol. It was the “thing” that stood in the way of him being able to fully follow Jesus.

What must I do to inherit eternal life? What must I do to be accepted, accomplished, loved? Our eternal destination is linked to the blood-stained cross of Jesus. There’s nothing we can “do.” It’s the free gift of God! 

When you surrender to God and give him your heart and your affections, when you get to know Him, then you begin to see who you are in God’s eyes. Your view of God shapes your identity.

Scriptures: John 10:10; Ecclesiastes 4:4; Exodus 20:3-5; Luke 18:18; Mark 10;21; Psalm 46:10

Verses: (Jn 10:10) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (Ec 4:4) Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. (Ex 20:3-5) “You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol or any kind of an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them,…” (Ps 46:10) “Be still and know that I am God;”…

Questions: Were you raised in a performance-driven environment? What makes you run fast/intently toward a goal? What are you chasing? How do you know when your motivation is out of balance, unhealthy? What, if anything, has been or can become an idol if you do not keep your heart in check and your eyes on Jesus?

Prayer: (Lyrics to Let me Lose Myself by Bridget Blucher) Let me lose myself and find it, Lord, in Thee. May all self be slain, my friend, see only Thee. Though it costs me grief and pain, I will find my life again. If I lose myself, I’ll find it, Lord, in Thee. Amen.

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