As a coach, it drives me nuts when I know teenagers are choosing to go play in (or watch) a soccer game on a Sunday morning rather than go to church, yet say that God is their #1, hoo-rah and yada yada. I love that my players love soccer. But not at the expense of where they’re missing church for a silly game that doesn’t even really matter in the bigger scheme of things. And then they put “God. Family. Soccer.” on their social-media byline underneath their username, like a list of priorities. Makes me cringe! But as adults, we do the same thing. We give off a particular “byline” when people see our lives.
Today I asked some of my friends, “What’s something you’ve been guilty of putting before God?”
And I got a load of responses: Own desires (like having a busy day), sports and other extra-curriculars, boyfriends, family/kids, sleep and slothfulness, approval (caring about others’ opinion more than God’s), Pinterest surfing, serving so much at church that the relationship part with the Lord would falter and because of that there was stumbling, fitness, work, a good book, finances (not giving to God first when they know they should), school and homework, social media (checking Facebook, Twitter, etc. before reading God’s Word), laundry, watching Netflix, and lots more!
And then someone texted me back and said, “Do you have an idol?”
Which brings me to this current blog entry.
Something in my life I’ve placed above God would be friendships. I was actually convicted about this issue last summer (I grew and learned) but now even more so this summer (time for more growing I suppose!). I’ve been guilty of spending more time thinking about my friends than I do about God. Ouch. It’s gotten to the point before, when friendships consumed my thoughts more than God did! That’s embarrassing! Not only to admit it, but the fact that it’s even true.
I could easily try to justify that it’s not a bad thing. Well, when it starts affecting (or is it effecting? I have no idea, and yes I’m an English teacher) Anyways, it is a bad thing when it begins consuming you. Who would’ve thought friendships could become idols? We might try to come up with reasons why it’s okay, but in the end, anything that consumes you, your mind, and your time, and holds a higher esteem than God, becomes idolatry.
Me placing friendships above my relationship with God makes it idolatry. I’m not just talking about choosing to hang out with friends rather than spend time with the Lord. I’m talking about something more than that, deeper than that: the consumption of thoughts, feelings, and emotions with friendships, taking precedence over God’s reign in my life.
Maybe it’s different for you. Maybe you’re not committing idolatry with friendships. And kudos to you. But if your life had a “byline”, what would be first? Better yet, if we’re being honest, what would others say is probably first? Oh! Or even better than that… what would God say is first? Hmmm.
I read a quote last night that said, “Idolatry is really not good for anyone. Not even the idols.” And that my friend, is so true. Friendships won’t be successful when there’s selfishness involved (read the previous post). And they definitely won’t be successful if there’s idolatry either.
Welp, until next time…
P.S. Thank you to everyone who shared with me and was open and honest toward my question!