By Sally Lombardo
“O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord. For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners. Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots. Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made. So man is humbled, and each one is brought low—do not forgive them! . . . . And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. And the idols shall utterly pass away.” (Isaiah 2:5-9, 17-18).
Isaiah is desperate; he calls out all the self-centered things that keep Jacob’s people from walking in the light and receiving God’s blessings. Many stumbling blocks stand in the way of our contentment and fruitfulness. These practices can be patterns of living, empty conversations, or things we think we need and love—but they all keep us from feeling close to God.
Recently, I was in New York City helping one of my children with a cross-town move. As I walked the streets, my observation that few people make eye contact with others anymore startled me. People walk without looking at anyone but their companions, and often they spend time looking at themselves in the phone camera at the end of their arms. Our culture has fallen into a huge preoccupation with self, and it manifests itself in all areas of life.
Maybe this obsession with self—thinking of how I look, how I feel, and what I have achieved compared to others—is the main idol of our day. If I remain preoccupied with my appearance, body image, and accomplishments, I don’t have much time to really recognize others and see the great need around me. This narcissistic way of thinking is not the sacrificial love for others God designed. He created us to be in a relationship, in communal fellowship, and to follow his example of compassion. Apostle John writes, “If we walk in the light as he as in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7 NIV). The idols we put before God are things that will keep us separated from Him, and this separation is what causes sin in our lives.
When have you felt sad, separate from God, and alone? Reflect on what was going on in your life, who you were with and where, and the words they used. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
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