Note from Pastor Kevin Lea: I received the following from a member of our congregation as an email shortly after a men’s breakfast where we covered the last chapter of Joshua.
At the end of Joshua’s life, he encourages the children of Israel to worship the true God and to put away their idols. The children of Israel all responded with a strong affirmation that they would only worship the true God. Joshua responded to them that they weren’t telling the truth and that he knew they were still secretly keeping idols among themselves.
Is it possible that some bible-believing-Christians are doing the same thing today? This letter may help you answer this question as it pertains to your life. It certainly challenged me to do so.
January 16, 2021
I just wanted to share some stuff with you. Some of these things I had planned to talk to you about in person over the last couple of weeks but there never seemed to be the right time with all the other things going on and you being so busy. I guess this is more to get it out than to make a point. These things touch on several thoughts and may seem somewhat disjointed. Some of them are consistent with some of those subjects that you touched on this morning at the men’s breakfast.
You mentioned that we may have taken on many idols over time. I have been wrestling with this for months now. I have followed sports now for several decades. I never thought much of this before. I viewed it as just a pleasant distraction that I found pleasure in. As I look back it was something I looked to consistently and that I spent a lot of time on. I didn’t see it as anything particularly harmful. I had done away with the NBA several years ago due to some of their internal stands. This came to my attention during this last year as both the NFL and Major league baseball became obsessed with black lives matter.
BLM as you know is an organization whose organizers are openly and publicly Marxists. They openly and for several years have advocated the indiscriminate murder of police officers. Their recent call for the defunding of the police is totally illogical and counterproductive to their public goals, unless their actual goal is complete anarchy. I decided that I could in no way support these stances. I separated myself from them [NFL] though that was not easy or done whimsically.
Next came my belief and affinity for my country. I didn’t really recognize how much of an idol this country was for me. The constitutional republic that I had lived in was just a part of me that I had pledged allegiance to all my life. I firmly believed in the tenants of the Republic. Over the years I have seen the soul of the republic go downhill at an exponentially accelerating rate. I have been shocked by this for a long time. Now the Constitutional republic is dead and not likely to ever see a legitimate election ever again though I now wonder how long this has been true to some extent. Regardless, since I came to Jesus, I should not of put so much faith in a manmade entity even though I wasn’t aware that I had. It is still difficult and I continue to wrestle with it. I must admit that I grieve for the loss. It is like the grieving for a lost loved one. Just when I think I have gotten a handle on it something is said or done to bring all the pain back. I want to lash out against those who have taken this away but I am reminded that I have something far greater.
I have come to the realization that I had made these an idol and I needed to repent of having idols. This is not somewhere that I have arrived but rather a task and journey that I am trying to take with the help of Jesus and with the encouragement of the body. This is not my home anymore. I am a citizen of a far better country; one where all the hopes and desires of the original Republic that were only goals and beyond reality are totally manifest. A place where indeed everyone is equal and there is total peace, harmony and righteousness. Even better, a place where I will be all of those things; a place where I will fit right in. This will happen not because of what I have earned but a gift by what someone else has earned.
As I think of this I am totally humbled. I don’t understand the spiritual physics of how the blood of the Creator could wipe away all of my sins. How could He love me, who was His enemy, so much that He would suffer all He did for me almost two thousand years ago to claim me as His own and to want me to be with Him forever? That He planned this before the beginning is more than I can comprehend. When He first created man He knew where it would all lead and He created us anyway. There are many people who are better than me, though they are sinners as well, whose sins are not washed clean. I am overcome with how glorious His love is. A love so amazing that I can’t begin to even fathom a part of it.
I am going to stop for now as I’m having trouble focusing on the worldly points. I just want to say please keep encouraging me and the rest of the body as we experience this special time. It is a confusing time as we are sifted and have to let go of worldly things to have our hands free to grab on to the eternal things which will bring everlasting joy.