Thursday, October 28, 2010


"For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." -Paul

Idols, idols, idols! They’re popular to talk about these days, but they sure have me feeling guilty. They have me jumping every time I turn a metaphorical corner. I’m afraid that my metaphorical posture will become that of Igor (which is fitting for the season). I can picture it now, my shoulders blocking my ears and periphery in sheer terror of the next pop-up idol to appear in my life.

My life is so full of idolatry that it’s a wonder that I can call myself a Christian. Heck, just about 20 minutes ago I was giving in to my compulsion, perfectionism, and need for validation, by doing something that was pretty much a waste of time. If any of you know me, you probably will ask, “Were you out jumping your bike again when you should be fund-raising?” Umm, yup.
And here’s some of my dialogue: “God I know you don’t want me to be doing this right now, so please change my attitude. OK, here goes, wee!” (I really think I said this!)… Frustration and a few choice words later: “God, it’s me again, could you just enable me to get that one jump just right so I can quit, go inside and be about what I know I should be about?”

For me mountain biking is like playing Tetris in the 8th grade all over again: “Just five more minutes God. Just one more level God. Just let me beat my personal best one more time God.” Meanwhile Mom’s yelling, “Philip, I’ve called you eight times for dinner!” “Be there in a minute Mom!” Minute for an 8th grader can be roughly translated to a Mostly Intuitively Not Understanding Time Especially-when-Mom-is-yelling-in-the-background (I like my use of adverbs). Well actually, it’s more like “perfectly willing to submit to obliviousness in regards to time,” which comes out to PWTSTOIRTT, which could be retranslated “Pretty Wrong To Say To Owls Resting in Tree-Tops.” I hear Owls are wise and know a lot about time.

Idols are easy to come by and hard to get rid of. And they have something to do with our pursuit of our kind of righteousness, which could be otherwise thought of as our personal sense of well-being and validation (cue Tim Keller for most of his sermons!).

But I have someone who embodies perfect righteousness for me! I have what I think I don’t, and what I unwittingly and sometimes wittingly (like about an hour ago) try to get on my own.
For me idols are failed attempts at validating my parking ticket of life. If I could only remember where I parked my car, maybe I’d be spared a lot of grief. Wow I’m metaphorical today!

The verse above hits me with its blunt portrayal of the human dilemma. But it’s a verse that for the believer is pregnant with a personal promise – namely the person and work of Christ. I need him today, because my guess is I’ll probably be out riding again this afternoon. It’s just too pretty of a day. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not practicing cheap grace. I tend to practise a really really “Close-out Sale, Everything Must Go Like it’s Going Out of Style” kind of grace. That’s how cheap I often make it. It’s also why this poor sinner finds satisfaction when he tastes the real thing.

Here’s to tasting the real thing through surrender and obedience! I have my doubts about me but not about him.

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