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American Idols

If God is good, but good isn’t God, how do we avoid making our worst mistakes with some of the best things in life?

Seems to me that for openers we might want to say to one another, let’s:

Value family, freedom, and a government of the people, by the people, and for the people– but don’t worship them.

Work hard, but don’t assume that there is a necessary relationship between hard work and material or spiritual success.

Save for the future, but don’t count on the future. Buy medical, car, and house insurance, but don’t let them rob you of your confidence in God.

Follow the best leaders you can find, but don’t rely on them. Value friendships, but don’t depend on friends. Try to stay healthy, but don’t put your trust in good food and exercise. Enjoy rest and recreation, but don’t live for them.

Use technology, but don’t sell your soul for it.

Get information, value education, and treasure wisdom, but don’t let them rob you of your faith.

Pray, but don’t rely on prayer. Try to know the Word and will of God, but don’t make a god of knowledge. Learn from your teachers, but don’t idolize them.

Seems to me that when the Apostle John ended his first New Testament letter saying, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1John 5:21) he knew that, while times change, our tendency to find our life in something other than God never does.

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12 Responses to “American Idols”

  1. eltonteng says:

    This is a list full of seemingly contradictions. It is a list of tangible things we like to show off to ourselves and one another as proof of our own worth. In other words, the inability to not fall into the trap of these idols reflects our sinful nature.

    This list also likely to be unpopular because it places the ultimate responsibility on the individual to manage his/her life in a balance manner. It is so much easier to just turn parts of our lives over to someone else – accountants, insurance brokers, nannies, schools, government, etc, so that you can blame someone else when things go awry.

  2. Tilaka says:


    For me too unanswered prayer is a challenge. Am going through many areas of unanswered prayer. Being 47 and having desired to get married as this is God’s beautiful plan for us all, have been unable to understand why I am still single today. Though still many say that being single is better, I still don’t agree, as the God ordained marriage for man and woman is beautiful in his sight. Like this, there are still many questions in my mind as I come from a family of 9 children.

    Having received salvation in 1992, I cannot understand the many delays and denials in my life, as well as the unanswered prayers in my family issues. Just today, we did have a pastor and his wife visit us and I believe that the day for answered prayer has begun, as a major family matter was brought before the lord. As I too join this group, which joins in this discussion of “unanswered prayer”, I believe for each one of us the lord will either answer our prayers or will reveal the reason as to why we haven’t had our prayers answered. I think it is good to know why as then we will know how to ask that we receive and when we don’t as well, we will know what has gone wrong in our asking. Prayer is asking God to meet our needs whilst talking to him as our father God.

    When we know that he is a prayer answering father and even as his word says, he hears us even before we call on him, I am sure like for me others too may question as to why our cry hasn’t been heard. This I say on the understanding that we know the principles of praying, eg. Asking the father in Jesus name, etc. having a right attitude, etc.

    Just as there are many unanswered questions in our day to day life, eg. Why do the wicked prosper when the good suffer? Etc. I know like me many may be seeking answerers to questions, be it marriage, career, relationships, health, etc.

    Love in Christ

  3. brownsfan1642 says:

    I think the fact is that we want something tangible that we can see and touch and feel, and the invisible God frustrates us with His invisibility. As a result, we have the warning about worshiping and serving the created rather than the Creator. But, we also have the promise of blessing if we can learn to believe, having not seen (as Jesus told Thomas). Our desire for the seen and the knowable gets in the way of knowing the God who, though unseen, is there and able to be known.

  4. Chuck Franke says:

    Tilaka, my heart goes out to you and your deep desire for marriage. You said, “Prayer is asking God to meet our needs whilst talking to him as our father God.”
    Think about this: God loves you and has a plan for your life. Talking with Him includes listening for His plan for you. By listening closely He will reveal why you have gone through all the difficult times and how it will work for good (His good and ultimately your good). “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28. As this becomes more and more a part of our prayer life we begin to see how our life needs the balance that Mart lays out in his post. May your life be a shinning example of God at work through His perfect will.

  5. hal.fshr says:

    I think I understand Mart’s list. One particular comment may need further clarification though: “Pray, but don’t rely on prayer.” If we think praying a certain way or for a certain duration will guarantee an expected result, then that can be a form of idolatry. However, there should be a dependent attitude upon God to work through us and to answer prayers according to his sovereign (and sometimes mysterious) will.

  6. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Mart, i believe idol worship of any kind, other than the desire for the one true God to have complete control of my life is caused by self centeredness, and that is why it can never be okayed by God, the Creator must be the center of my life and not me, ( PERIOD ).
    Tilaka, you are not alone in this boat, the Lord took my wife Joy 2 years ago, i could go into several scenarios that have caused me to wonder why this happened, but i know as Chuck mentioned, if i love God, the only requirement, God promises to work all things, every thing out for good.
    Being alone especially after being married 49 years is hard, really hard at times, but knowing God will work even this out for good is a peace that i can only get if i live this out, not just believe this is true, but i also know i must be looking for the good and desiring to see the good, and God has blessed me many, many times the last 2 years, and i know i need to be looking, and i believe maybe you need to be looking for that person the Lord wants you to be with, not the perfect person, not lowering your standards spiritually, for sure, but i believe the only answer for unanswered prayers is if the prayer is not in God’s will, the Lord tells us an unmarried person can serve the Lord in a more committed way, but i believe if a person desires to be married, that person is not fully committed to God, and probably needs to be married.
    These thoughts are as Paul said are my thoughts, not absolutes from the Lord.
    Forgive me if my fingers cannot relay what is in my heart in a righteous manner.

  7. jesusismyHelp says:


    I went through the same thing, asking the same questions, but I realize that if God knows that the husband you so desperately wants will take His place in your heart, then you will not recieve it. We recieve what we pray according to our faith. You have to believe that God is the Author and Finisher of your life and that He knows best. In addition, most of us forget that while we are waiting on God to deliever us and give us strength, we must be of a Good Courage-consider Hannah, when she asked God to give her a son and Eli told her it would happen, she left the temple rejoicing as if she was already pregnant! Walk in victory and complete trust in God’s Will. It wasn’t until I stopped looking for a husband and stopped thinking of myself and started to pray for others who needed things like food, shelter, and sanity that God decided I was ready for a husband…and it is not all what it seems!…It is hard, committed work, a denial of oneself and giving yourself totally to the other person, spiritually, you have to be full of the spirit as well because the enemny will try his best to seperate what God has brought together…be encouraged, believe God for His Word and see what happens then!

    Walk in Faith, not by Sight, for the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are Eternal!

  8. zaner says:

    I agree with Mart wholeheartedly on this subject. Live your life as if the lord is coming in the next breath but plan as if he will tarry long into the future. One of my longest running prayers is for the ability to be able to do this. But alas I am more human than Godlike. A number of years ago a question was posed in Sunday school “If you knew God was coming today what would you do different?” A very devote, God fearing elderly lady had the ultimate answer. “I had better not have to do anything different.” Another goal I have yet to achieve in my spiritual walk.
    I would also like to point out that I have had friends and relatives who have had severe business reversals because they basically sat back and did nothing. Basing this action on the premise that God will provide.I personaly never received a check in the mail from God. What I did receive thru prayer was opportunities and abilities. All thru answered and unanswered pray

    your brother in Christ

  9. Mart De Haan says:

    hal.fshr, I understand and agree with your comment. What I was thinking is that sometimes we talk about the “power” of prayer as if there is power in prayer rather than in God. As you indicate the right kind of prayer is really just relying on God– without presuming when or how he will answer.

  10. poohpity says:

    I believe you have correctly written the struggle we have living in the world yet not being of the world. I believe that relying on prayer is a necessity. I feel that communication with God is mandatory to a relationship with Him. I believe He answers our prayers whether it be with a yes, no or wait.

    I have yet to receive the answer to my prayer for a husband because I struggle with so many feelings of worthiness to be loved. I know and accept that God loves me for being who I am but I do not fit into what the world says a lady SHOULD be. I am very different yet I know that one day God will provide someone to accept me just the way I am. I believe He wants me to be ready and He wants the other person to be ready too.

    I have also found that knowing the Word and the Will of God can make one different and sometimes, I want to say proud but that isn’t really the feeling, confused because you know what God says but you experience so much of the world entwined in all that is of God you wonder. I would like to ask a question, Does everything in our life relate to our spirituality?

  11. daisymarygoldr says:

    Everything listed under ‘American idols’ pertains to this world. A Christian cannot love this world or anything about it because this world will pass away (1 John 2:15). Therefore, it makes perfect sense to trust Him and have His will be accomplished in our lives.
    We worship a living God who never lets a prayer go unanswered! When we ask in faith, we accept the answer by faith which may not be evident (Heb 11:1). But then, Faith without works is dead (James 2:26). For ex. we can pray all night to get an ‘A’ in the test but then we will have to study all night too:( What if we still don’t score an ‘A’? As one grows and matures in Christ, the Holy Spirit sensitizes our hearts to the will of the Father and we gladly accept the unexpected/unwanted answers too!

  12. marie says:

    I believe the power of prayer (James 5:16 “… the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”); especially if we are in agreement (Mathew 18:19 “again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask; it will be done for them by My Father in heaven”).
    Whatever the answer, He will respond. The problem is that God’s timing is not ours, and waiting requires faith and patience. Ultimately, God will provide according to our needs not our wants.

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