When you fall or fail and are still loved, shame lifts!
Jeremiah prophesied: “Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them” (Jeremiah 10:14, ESV).
It’s a strange, paradoxical prophecy.
On the one hand, Jeremiah’s word from the Lord bespeaks the impotence of every idol: there is no breath in them.
On the other hand, the prophecy seems to attribute unspeakable power to any idol: every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols.
How can a worthless, inanimate idol bring hell’s dark force of shame upon the necks of the saints? How can a lifeless, breathless image taunt its own maker?
Through some candid testimony in today’s broadcast, I share how my big three idols came crashing to the ground years ago as I was wondrously touched by the Holy Spirit in the midst of a large, revival meeting.
I grew up craving approval. There is, of course, nothing wrong with receiving affirmation from others. In fact, it’s essential to learn to receive the nourishment that comes with others’ encouragement. But when we yearn for approval in order to feel adequate because we have no deep sense of God’s approval in Christ, our craving for acceptance becomes idolatrous.
As soon as I believe, I must have the approval of others or else I cannot be okay, an idol is placed on the shelf of my heart.
There, in its place of prominence in my heart, the “idol of approval” watches and waits. The idol instructs: You better try hard to do and say all the right things or else you’ll lose others’ approval. Then, when someone withholds approval, the idol mocks: Look at you, you have been rejected again. My, don’t you feel worthless.
Unaware that the idol was ever born, most who crave approval just keep trying harder to gain the acceptance of the thoughtless crowd. But the answer to the shame of rejection isn’t satisfying the god of approval. The answer is destroying the idol!
When I fell under the glory of God’s grace, I discovered a sweetness of approval in Christ that was unlike anything the world could ever offer. I have learned the joy of receiving true affirmation and encouragement without needing it in order to be okay. When the idol of approval is yanked off the shelf of your heart and crushed under the power of the Gospel, you’re free to live and love and follow God. And that’s the Gospel!