The Rat, the Chicken, and the Kardashians
W4R #142 Reed DePace 01/11/20
A Weekly Prayer Devotional Seeking God
to Pour Out His Spirit in Revival on Us [*]
The Tyrant Idea-Idols
Each nation has its idols. Some of these get turned into statues to which people offer acts of worship. Most idols, however, are ideas that dominate the way people in a nation live. These idea-idols control their lives at the most fundamental level: their purpose in life, the goals they must pursue, the morality they must live by, etc.
These idea-idols also promise great rewards: spectacular success in this life and the next. But these idea-idols, tools of Satan that they are, are lies. Instead of eternal success, they always and only deliver eternal death, the conscious recognition for all eternity that one has wasted his life serving lies.
But even worse, these idea-idols are tyrannical lies. They compel the allegiance and obedience of the people listening to them. They punish by destroying self-image when they’re not heeded. And when they are paid attention to, when they are worshiped with effective energy, these idea-idols reward their adherents with accolades and pleasures that leave them hollowed out, emptier than they were before they started.
Promising life, riches, and fame, these tyrant idea-idols give a living death even before this life has ended.
Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. … Those who worship idols are disgraced-- all who brag about their worthless gods-- for every [false] god must bow to [God]. (Ps 127:1; 97:7 NLT)
Remembered to be Forgotten
The vision these idea-idols offer their groveling slaves can be summed up this way: seek the fame and fortune that will make you remembered forever. But the truth is exactly the opposite. Those seeking to be remembered in this life will be forgotten in eternal life:
All memory of their existence will fade from the earth, no one will remember their names. They will be thrust from light into darkness, driven from the world. (Job 18:17-18)
This is exactly opposite what Jesus offers those who learn to repent of their rebellion and trust in him:
Those who are righteous [through Christ] will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. (Ps 112:6-9)
The tyrannical idea-idols say be remembered, lest you be forgotten; Jesus says be forgotten to be remembered:
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? (Mk 8:35-36)
The Rat, the Chicken, and the Kardashians
Even though the regenerated believer has been freed from the idea-idols’ tyranny, he can still hear their demand for worship. Worse, his flesh (yet to die and be reborn) still longs to run and bow to them:
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my [reborn and renewed] inner being, but I see in my members [the old body and soul not yet glorified] another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Rom 7:21-25 ESV)
New life in Jesus is not a rat race: a meaningless frenetic competition for a prize that never satisfies. Living the Christian life is not like the chicken with its head cut off: a pointless day-by-day frenzied rush here and there that never fulfills. The new life’s purpose and goals are not about keeping up with the Kardashians: striving to accumulate fame and fortune that only masks the soul-aching emptiness of a worthless existence.
New life in Jesus is about relaxing. Its about relaxing because Jesus has already defeated our worst enemies, Satan, Sin, and Death, the ones who are the source of the tyrant idea-idols:
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. … For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith. (Jh 16:33; 1Jo 5:4 NLT)
New life in Jesus is about relaxing because Jesus has freed us from worry about any earthly need we have:
So don't worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?” These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today. (Mt 6:31-34)
So relax. No really, relax! Jesus has restored God’s original purpose and goals to us, guaranteed and glorious:
For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. … You [Lord Jesus] are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth. (Jer 29:11; Rv 5:9-10)
Instead, by prayer relying on Christ’s Spirit (Rom 15:30; Php 1:19), let us seek the glory and joy for which we were saved: sharing in the gospel-telling work of Jesus that God uses to save his lost children:
[God] called you to salvation when we told you the gospel; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. … Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin." (2Th 2:14; Rom 4:7-8)
Those keeping up with the rat, the chicken, and the Kardashians are already living in the destruction of the tyrannical idea-idols. Let us find God’s glory and joy in telling them they can be free of these through Jesus!
Dear Lord, we adore you who gave true purpose and goals that lead to eternal glory and joy. We confess we’ve followed the idea-idols of this world. Thank you for Jesus who has freed us from the tyranny of these, and restored us to yourself. Now give us over to telling others this good news. By your Spirit, Jesus, make us your witnesses.
Restore to us the years the locusts have eaten. Pour out Your Spirit in revival on us. To Your glory, together with Your Father and Your Spirit, we ask, Amen.
[*] This weekly prayer devotional focuses our attention on some aspect of our need for the Holy Spirit to bring revival to our church. Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you (Ps 85:6)? For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams (Isa 44:3-4). Pick a 15 to 30-minute time-block in your schedule over the next week and use this devotional to focus your prayers. As you can, consider fasting from a meal and using that time to pray for revival in our church.