January 30, 2009

Disrupting the Influence

During Paul's 3rd missionary journey some trouble stirs up in Ephesus. Here's the short version: A businessman who profits from idolatry and materialism realizes that the Gospel is bad for business and that it is apparently robbing their "goddess" of her warranted prestige. In his words, "the great goddess Artemis will lose its influence...". Shocking, isn't it.

We are not even remotely inclined to place ourselves in the same category with a corrupted pagan businessman like Demetrius. He makes a living off of other people worshipping things that he makes with his hands. Rightly so - maybe we're not guilty of such a travesty. But here's something to think about: When the Gospel truly penetrates a life - YOUR life - all the other "gods" in our life will begin to "lose their influence". Painful, isn't it.

The hunger for more "stuff" will begin to fade. The need for bigger and better things will begin to seem futile. We'll start to see the one-day moth-eaten rust-destroyed things of this world for what they really are. Now please, make no mistake - this will NOT happen instantly. And if you're like me you will wrestle with it on a regular basis. But that's the point for us as followers of Christ - to do the wrestling - to not be afraid to struggle with it or have to cry out to God for help to overcome it. The problem occurs when we begin to be unaware or oblivious to our return to idol worship. Acts 19 tells us that when the riot broke out in Ephesus - when the mob gathered to defend their idol worship - "most of them didn't even know why they were there." Don't let this happen to you!

Do you need that new TV? That new cell phone? Are you thinking before you buy, watch, listen, horde, stockpile, and shop? Are your idols coming to visit you? Are they waiting for you at the store? Around the corner? Mine do. They know just where to hide, sneak up on me, and how to try and entice me into cozying up with them once again. But I know their names. I know how they operate. And I'm not going down that easy. What about you?

May our lives disrupt the influence of all other gods.
May the Gospel shine through us and expose every Artemis around us.
May God bring the Kingdom into every area of our lives!

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