Idolatry: The Thief of Joy

I struggle with idolatry, the ultimate thief of joy. It is a daily reality that pulls my heart away from the worship of my Lord to the worship of those things which entice me away. It is an ever looming, always painful battle that, when won, brings clarity and worship for my Lord. Yet, when lost, provides momentary, false control only to be followed by anguish. These idols produced of my own heart steal away the joy of the Lord with a stealth unmatched by anything in this world.

It is not stone statues, offerings to be burned, or strange ideas of the universe that steal my heart away from Him. Instead, it is the gifts, blessings, and moments He has given that I hold onto far too tightly. My own heart perverts the focus of my worship and draws me away from the Giver.

He gives my children–I teach them good behavior for my own pride instead of His glory, crippling their influence and growth.

He gives my home–I fuss and fume that the improvements will never be good enough, missing opportunities to show hospitality.

He gives my ministry–I hold it too dearly, accept praise too readily, and forget His hand too easily, causing fruitless effort.

And so idolatry steals my joy, draws me in, and entraps my heart and flesh…“For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16)

Yet, in His gentle, ever-loving, never failing way He whispers through His Word, “Humble yourself, confess your sins, and abide in my love.” (1 Pet. 5:6, 1 John 1:8, 1 John 4:16) Then as the Holy Spirit once again rescues my thoughts, pulls back my heart from the depths, and entreats me to pray, “restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Ps. 51:12a), His Word proves ever true.

“For his anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)


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About Sarah Chadbourn

Sarah and her husband, Jonathan, are from third-generational ministry families. Their ministry experiences began in France as church planters. They then moved to a small Illinois town to help strengthen and experience the God-guided growth of a struggling church. Sarah’s husband is the Pastor of Education at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Groveland, Illinois, where she enjoys the busy life of a pastor’s wife. Sarah earned a degree in Nutritional Counseling from Calvary Bible College where she and Jonathan met. She enjoys writing, counseling, and speaking God’s truth to women of all ages. In her free time she enjoys playing piano, jogging, reading out-loud to her five children (ages 5-12), and decorating her house.

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