Mike Glenn on When the Idols Topple

Image: Photo by Greg Gallaher on Unsplash

When I was little boy, I heard the story of Elijah calling down fire from heaven. In my little southern evangelical church, Elijah was the proto-type preacher. He was standing up to power, calling the people back to God and bringing fire from heaven. Now, that was preaching.

I couldn’t wait to get to seminary and learn to preach like that.

When you’re young, both in age and in ministerial experience, you see the battle between good and evil like some kind of comic book battle of super heroes. On one side was Satan and all his demons. He had enslaved people in blindness and darkness. They were slaves, each of them bound to an idol, a false god that had promised to save them.

I, of course, was a soldier in the Lord’s army, charging the armies of evil and darkness to free the captives. I was outfitted with the full armor of God, protecting myself with the shield of faith and my flaming sword of truth. I was on a mission to slay dragons and save sinners.

Every day, I thank God social media wasn’t around when I was younger. I would never be able to live down some of my judgmental sermons and heartless pronouncements. I thought that’s what prophets did.

I found out I was wrong.

No one gets up and says, “today, I’m going to mess up my life beyond all recovery.” No one who takes a drink thinks they’ll become an alcoholic. No one who uses drugs thinks they’ll become an addict. Neither does the first-time viewer of porn, all they want is a little relief from the pain. Only too late do they find out they have become enslaved to their idol.

Worse are those of us who have become enslaved to socially acceptable idols. Work seven days a week, make more money than 10 people could spend, and you’ll be famous. You’ll get a book deal and be able to hang out with presidents and world leaders.

Work out seven days a week in the gym. Measure every mouthful of calories, and you’ll be called a “beast” by your friends. You’ll be able to admire your perfection in any mirror that’s nearby. Those are sins too — we just like those.

And it all happens because we’re just trying to get through the day. We’re just trying to get away from the pain. We’re just trying to find a little easier path. Life is hard. We just need some relief. We’re all just looking for a little help.

Yet, we don’t see the peace of Christ or the healing of the Spirit. For some reason, people don’t think Jesus is who He says He is and can’t do what He says He can do. There are lots of reasons for this: years of bad preaching, generations of unfaithful living…why should anyone believe if the believers don’t seem to?

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Source: Christianity Today