Tearing Down The Altars of Self…
One of the things that completely breaks my heart is seeing Teen Challenge students, and anyone else for that matter, go back to their horrific Egypts. Egypt in the Bible represents bondage; slavery to sin and even death – after all, the wages of sin is death. Over the years, I have seen God miraculously deliver people from every kind of addiction and life controlling issue. I have also seen people who have been gloriously delivered go back. WHY? WHY, on earth would they go back? Were they insincere? Did they not have enough support? Is “sin” and addictive issues stronger than the power of the Lord? I don’t think so. In fact I know that I know that who the Son sets free, is free in deed. Then WHY do people get all caught up in their life controlling issue again. Notice I said “life controlling” issue – not addiction. Any of us can have a life controlling issue and not be deemed an addict. Maybe my life controlling issue is not letting go of the past to the point of it negatively affecting my present. Maybe I am still believing the lies of the enemy that I am somehow less than. Or, maybe I struggle with humbling myself. I just can’t seem to let go of my pride… The list could go on. I may say to myself that I know these things should be history, but they keep bursting back onto the front page of my life! Again, WHY?
I know there can be a multiplicity of reasons, but I want to give a big one: They might still haunt me because I still kneel at their altars. In the Old Testament we read time and time again how the Kings would deliver the people… tear down most of the pagan altars…. the people would do good for a bit – then would get caught back up in the pagan worship of the times. Notice I said they tore down “most”, not ALL!!! If we are going to be completely free, ALL the pagan gods have to be demolished. When I take a bird’s eye view into the lives of people who have gone back to their old destructive pasts, there are often old altars that were never really destroyed: Altars that lift up negative relationships; or they find themselves often kneeling at the altars of compromise; instant gratification; self-centeredness, greed, pride and self-pity… And of course, since we can’t serve two masters, these altars begin to replace our sweet fellowship with the Lord; our times in the Word or in prayer. Before we know it, what we once knew was wrong (death), now is some how okay. And Scripture is quite clear: ‘There is a path that seems right to man, but leads to destruction!”
As I write this, I am asking myself: “Do I still have altars in my life that need to be torn down?” Do I still worship at the altar of self: self will; self indulgence; even self destruction? And what do I do if I do have these altars in my life? How do I tear them down? Let me introduce you to my demolition crew:
- We tear them down through self examination. We need to get on our face before God and ask Him to show us any change that is needed.
- When He does, we need to repent – turn our back on it!
- Then we need to clean house. We need to make sure that temptation is not available to us anymore.
- Get help: we need to be accountable to someone we trust – someone who will pray with us; be honest with us and who will not placate us into self indulgence!
- Set a guard! Don’t allow anyone or anything back in – it is NEVER okay!
I am not minimizing anyone’s struggle. I am not saying this is a complete list, but it is a place to start. I tell my students that I get tired of doing their funerals. I get weary of seeing the pain allowed back in their lives. It kills me to see the hurt brought back into the lives of those they love. So, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. It is my prayer for all of us, that we will rid ourselves of anything that draws us away from our relationship with the Lord. Know this for sure: anything, or even anyone, that we put before Lord – it has just become a god to us! #servingtheonetrueGodandHimalone