“Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ.”
At times I’ve wondered what holds me back from not fully attaining God’s destiny in my life. Why isn’t there victory in certain areas? I stumbled upon one possible answer while reading Joshua 7:13. It says, “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.'”
The Israelites had conquered Jericho but they lost the battle at Ai, because one man, named Achan, disobeyed and “acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things” (Joshua 7:1). Achan took what was supposed to be burned and because of that, the Lord’s anger burned against the whole nation of Israel. The sin of one can affect many.
In verse twelve, God goes on to explain how the Israelites can’t defeat their enemies, or have victory in their lives, unless they destroy whatever is devoted to destruction. God would not be with them unless they demolished the idols. In order for the Israelites to have victory against their enemy, they needed the presence of God. But they would not have that unless they destroyed their idols.
Likewise, we can’t stand against our enemies and have victory until we remove those things that we are devoted to. Our devotion, first and foremost, needs to be toward God. And when He is our one and only, then His presence is with us and we are victorious.
William Bernard Ullathorne wrote, “Whatever a man seeks, honors, or exalts more than God, this is the god of idolatry.” For me, food is still too much of an idol. It lures me to focus on it, instead of God. If I want to have victory over the obstacles that prevent me from fulfilling God’s destiny, then I need to crush my idol, set myself apart, and cling to God. I want to be devoted to God, not to other idols, which can’t satisfy.
This is where the Holy Spirit must come in. I need Him to cause me to fall more madly in love with God, so I fall out of love with my idol of food. As I enter the Holy Week, I desire to worship God and have devotion only to Him, as a small response for all He did for me.
“Jesus wants our absolute, unrestrained devotion to Himself.”
What idol stands in your way of wholehearted devotion for God?
How has that idol prevented you from having victory over your enemies?
Has your sin of idolatry affected many?