Idols and Mighty Deeds

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“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

Exodus 34:14

When God says that he is a jealous God, he means it (Exodus 34:14). God desires that he is the only one to whom we direct our worship, and one of the reasons is so that His power can be demonstrated in our lives.

Idols can be anything that we ascribe power to. Idols can be something as benign as coffee in the morning. If we constantly say, “I need this coffee to get going.” Or “I can’t function without my coffee.”, we are ascribing power to coffee. Now probably in most cases coffee does not become an idol because we don’t put getting our “cup of Joe” ahead of our worship of God.

A trickier idol is the equation “work harder = better results”. While it is true that God wants us to work hard. And it is also true that in most cases our hard work produces more fruit, it is not the rule in God’s Kingdom. The rule is more like: The motivation of our hearts which produces hard work matters, and the fruit is in God’s hands.

That is why a lifestyle of abiding in Christ, or ‘hearing and obeying’ is essential for disciples of Jesus. Our work and the results need to be offered to God as worship. When work and/or results become an idol, they short-circuit God’s power at work through us and affect the fruit that our lives produce. Consider the list of people who Paul highlights for their faith in Hebrews 11. It should also be noted that they devoted themselves to God, they confronted idols in their lives and by an act of will made God the centre of their worship. Through their faith they stepped into a lifestyle of hearing and obeying and opened the possibility for God to act on their behalf with mighty deeds. Our “work harder = better results” idol opposes God by giving power to our work or the earthly physics of the ‘cause and effect’ principle.

Today return your worship to God. Be a person of faith, ‘hear and obey’, and open yourself up to the power of God being displayed in your life.

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About the author

Profile photo for John Hall

In 1997 John Hall, his wife Wei, and brother in-law started Eco Outdoor Sports in Metro Vancouver. In 2003 the business was sold, and his family entered a seven-year ‘desert experience’. During that time the Lord impressed on John and his family the importance of hearing and obeying Jesus every day, something that he tries to integrate into everything he does. In 2010 God changed the family’s direction and led him to finish his degree at Regent College in preparation for life as a full-time missionary overseas. That ministry opportunity didn’t develop as planned, as a whole new perspective and participation-in Christ’s mission was born at Missions Fest Vancouver. It’s now a daily occurrence for John’s business background and theological training to get a workout.

John served as the Executive Director at Mission Central (formerly Missions Fest Vancouver) from 2014 to April 2023.

John and Wei live in Richmond, BC. They have two wonderful adult girls. John completed his MA at Regent College in 2010.

The Tapestry Church (Richmond, BC)

Series: Hearing and Obeying—Devotionals

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