Family Idols

Last month  I was invited to speak at a friend’s church. I spoke to a Men’s group and the topic was “Using Worship to Overcome Addiction.”

The gist of the talk was, all of us are tempted to worship things other than God that can’t fully satisfy us. When we pursue those things we find ourselves frustrated, stressed, anxious, depressed and hopeless…which leads to us engaging in sinful behaviors as a way to cope. But when we pursue and worship God we find the satisfaction we long for and the sinful behaviors begin to go away…because we don’t need to the sinful behaviors to cope anymore.

Now all this got me thinking about my own parenting. How so often I only focus on my kid’s sinful behavior. And how I rarely think about what is behind that behavior. I don’t think I have ever asked myself what are the idols of my kid’s heart? What are they pursing that is leaving them frustrated, stressed, anxious, depressed or hopeless? And how are their sins connected to these pursuits?

Now my kids are young and there is no way they could articulate any of this. But they still have sinful desires. They still have idols. I know this because if I asked them the question, “what could I give you that would make you happy?”…I am sure they wouldn’t respond, “more Jesus!”

And that’s is the problem. Not just for my kids and yours, but for all of us. If there is something we want more than Jesus, we are worshiping an idol– something that is leading us (and our families) to destruction. Idols lead to sin, sin leads to destruction. It’s just that simple.  If we believe there something that can satisfy us in a way Jesus cannot…then we are setting ourselves up for frustration, sin, and destruction.

Our kids are no different.

As we come into summer, a time when most of us will see more of our kids it’s a good time to ask ourselves do I know what idols my kids worship? Do I know what idols I worship? Do I know what idols our family worships? And how are these idols effecting our family?

As I outlined in my Men Ministry talk, freedom from sin comes when we take the following three steps:  We confess our idols, acknowledge how they harm us, and then ask God to help pursue and worship him. Because only faithful worship of God through Jesus Christ can free us from sin and bring us the satisfaction we long for—parents and kids alike.

May your family and mine continue to lay our idols at the cross of Jesus that we might grow in faithful worship of God. And may God alone satisfy our hearts and keep our homes evermore free from sin.