A Time for Blind Faith

Today’s post is based on chapter 8 of my latest book, Newness of Life, recently released on Amazon.

In this chapter about scattering and gathering stones, I spoke of smashing idol worship and remembering God’s faithfulness.  Today I will combine this theme with the idea of blind faith, as prompted by the Live Free Thursday linkup.

I took up blind faith to smash my idol several years ago.  

My home, my cozy haven.  The beautiful, giant idol holding so many dreams.  Dreams of family together forever, the way it should have been for us growing up, the way I desperately longed for our children.  Dreams of security, safety, serenity.  Perfect peace.  All tied up in 2,400 square feet of beech floors, Andersen windows, whitewashed walls, and thousands of nails.

I trembled as I lingered in my van one afternoon, sitting in the dark garage, unable to turn off the words of Andy Stanley in a radio broadcast.  He spoke of idol worship in our contemporary culture.  He spoke of anything in our heart taking the rightful place of God, calling it an idol.  And I heard God saying, “Sarah, your house is your idol.”

God wasn’t jealous of the trees we cleared, the foundation walls we poured, or the trusses we set.  He wasn’t jealous of the cabinets holding our dishes, the doors guarding our rooms, or the walls framing us in.

God was jealous of my heart’s cry for home as the solution to all my struggles.  Home as my source of security, when he longed to provide all the security I wanted.  Home as my shield, my steadfast companion, my shelter from literal and emotional storms.  God wanted to be everything for me, and he wasn’t willing to share any piece of my heart with my home or anything else.

For weeks I struggled with the notion of idol worship.  How can my home really be an idol?  We need a place to live, I argued.  We have $60,000 in sweat equity, I reasoned.  We are within the 25%-34% recommended budget range on the mortgage, I rationalized.  Choking back tears, I pleaded: I always wanted to live here, not just anywhere.  I want to live where generations of my family have settled.  I want this part of your world to be my home, Father.

Another sermon came back to me from Dr. Charles Stanley, Andy Stanley’s father. He told of a time he gave up his cameras when prompted by God to do so.  It made no sense whatsoever.  Dr. Stanley is an accomplished photographer and didn’t think he had any idol problem with his cameras.  But God said, Charles, you need to give them up.  He struggled against the idea for a while, but finally decided to sell all his equipment at a camera shop.  Right then a peace that passed all understanding came over him.

Only a short time afterward a friend knocked at his door.  She had heard his story and decided to purchase his cameras back for him.  She was so impressed with his blind faith, she prayed about what to do, and God prompted her to buy the cameras back.  Dr. Stanley was overwhelmed by God’s perfect knowledge.  He knew he had passed a spiritual test and didn’t regret his choice, even when it made no sense.

I didn’t agree to put our house up for sale.  But I prayed God would unseat my home from its wrongful place in my heart.  I prayed that if I gave my house over to God in my heart, he would somehow give it back to me like he returned Dr. Stanley’s cameras.

I didn’t understand what God wanted me to do, but I trusted him to show me, and I moved forward in blind faith, trembling and afraid.

That was ten years ago.  God never asked me to give up my house; I’m writing these words in this same lovely home.  However, in the painful process of helping me smash the house idol in my heart, he revealed dozens more.  Relationships.  Food.  Daydreams.  Books.  Creature comforts.  God used the first idol to expose others.  He drew me closer and closer to himself by stripping the idols away, whispering:

I AM your comforter.  I AM your shelter.  I AM your shield.  I AM your safe haven.  I AM your security.  I AM your strength.  I AM your perfect peace.  

When I was healed, I took up the stones of those smashed idols and erected milestones of faith:  

  • This stone marks the time I learned to trust God for security instead of my house.
  • This stone marks the time I learned relationships will never fill me completely up, but God can.
  • This stone marks the time I learned food is fuel, not my friend; a delight, but not a drug.
  • This stone marks the time I learned daydreams lead me astray, but God’s word steeps me in truth.
  • This stone marks the time I learned books are blessings only in moderation.
  • This stone marks the time I learned to be thankful for creature comforts but not dependent upon them for happiness.

This stone marks the time I moved forward in blind faith.

Questions for reflection: (please comment below)

What idols in your heart need to be smashed?

What stones of remembrance can you set up today in your heart?

 

Here are links to free resources that will help you in the online Bible study or personal study of Newness of Life:

Newness of Life Worksheets

Online Bible Study Reading Plan

Giveaways

Giveaways will be announced on Fridays.  If you comment in my online Bible study throughout this study, you’ll be entered to win prizes on Jan. 20 and Jan. 27.  All comments will be entered to win the grand prize on Feb. 3.

This week’s winner will receive a copy of Jen Wilkin’s book None Like Him and a magnet set of these beauties:

Congratulations to Meg, winner of a free copy of Newness of Life!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My new book Newness of Life will help you apply Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 so you can understand God’s plan in your current season.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

No matter what season you are in, God is teaching you valuable lessons to grow your faith and trust in Him.  We will discover what God is saying through the different times and activities we traverse.

I look forward to hearing how God is working in your current life season.  I hope you will join in the fun and discussion on the online Bible study.


Please vote 17 on this link: Click HERE! so I can make my publishing dream come true. God set me free from my fear of abandonment, and I want the world to know!

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This post will be linked up at #gracemoments, #livefreethursday, #thoughtprovokingthursday, #chasingcommunity, #dancewithjesus, #faithnfriends, #freshmarketfriday, and #graceandtruth. Visit my linkups page to find links to these wonderful blogs.


 

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  • I am always helped by Tim Keller’s definition of idolatry: when we make good things into ultimate things. Thank you for sharing the story of how God unseated your home from that throne.

    • Sarah

      Great definition, Michele. Thanks for sharing!

  • Taking a close look at idols in our life is so hard and definitely requires faith. Thank you for sharing this honest testimony to facing our idols and giving our hearts fully to the Lord!

    • Sarah

      Thanks Nicole. Blessings on your new series!

  • Congratulations on your new book, Sarah. Wishing you all the best….

    • Sarah

      Thanks Sarah! Blessings to you too!

  • Love the idea of having stones of remembrance in our lives! It’s so easy to forget all that God has brought us through, and the many lessons He has taught us.

    I pray that my heart will be tender to the Holy Spirit’s leading as He reveals idols in my own heart.

    • Sarah

      Hi Tracey, thanks for visiting. Checking out your site now!

  • Sarah, isn’t it so easy to accidentally worship things we never wanted to worship, while the God who gave them is waiting in the shadows. Such a patient and generous God He is. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Sarah, and thanks for linking up with #ChasingCommunity today! 🙂 ((hug))

    • Sarah

      Glad to link up with you, Brenda!

  • We can have so many different forms of idols. 🙁 I’m sure I’ve gone back and forth with my home as an idol too; not so much because of how great it is, but because it’s my safe place. In reality, only God is my safe place! Thanks for sharing this, Sarah.

    • Sarah

      Thanks for stopping by, Lisa! Hopping over to your site now.

    • Sarah

      Thanks for visiting, Lisa. I’m headed over to your site now…

  • Amy Boyd

    Thanks for sharing your heart Sarah! I have recently created “Ebenezer stones” as mentioned in 1 Samuel 7:12. I wrote significant dates on each stone and remembered God’s goodness to me in good times and in bad. Giving up the idols of our hearts can be both painful and relieving at the same time! Glad to be your neighbor at #livefreethursday!

    • Sarah

      I know about Ebenezer stones, and a friend gave me a gift set several years ago. I want to set them up with my children this summer in a little garden. Glad to be your neighbor as well!

  • sandraj

    Sarah, Thanks for a beautiful post and deep wisdom! Blessings on your new book release!

    • Sarah

      Thanks for your visit Sandra!

    • Sarah

      Thanks for visiting, Sandra!

  • I love the story of Charles Stanley’s camera too, as well as your home story. I wondered if God wants me to give up my camera for a moment, but so far don’t hear that–just use it to show how beautiful the world is which I am very happy to do!

    • Sarah

      Hi Lynn! Keep praying, and I’m sure God will reveal new things to you through your cameras. I will hop over and check out your site. Blessings to you!

  • Thank you, Sarah. I think for me, my kids can be an idol. It’s not like I’m going to get rid of them, : ), but it’s a constant challenge to make sure that I’m putting God in His rightful place on the throne.

    • Sarah

      Oh, yes, I can relate! My children are my heart’s treasure, and I constantly remind myself they belong to God first. Glad someone else understands!

  • I love the way we can take something visible and apply it to the lessons He is teaching us, Sarah. I had not heard that story by Dr. Stanley but I was blessed by the outcome of His faith which you shared here. My Pastor and I were talking about the ideals we have in this live being idols we have in our hearts recently. He challenged me to lay every single ideal up against the Word of God and pray about them with that in mind. It sure changes the perspective when we do that.

    Thanks for sharing this at the #GraceMoments Link up!
    Blessings,
    Dawn

    • Sarah

      Love that prayer suggestion. I also pray, “If I don’t see the wrong I’m doing, Lord, show me.” He always answers that one!

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