1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
Idols don’t always look like idols. Sometimes they come couched in an attitude, or an expectation. Sometimes they rise up after being dormant for a long time . . .
Today I left my cell phone on a store shelf. I was grinding coffee, and I got distracted and left my wallet and phone on the shelf. It was at least 20 minutes before I even realized I did not have it with me. Back to the shelf — it was gone. A kind employee helped me find that the wallet was returned (i.e. just left on a cashier’s station) but the cell phone, and the cash in the wallet was gone.
I can’t tell you how many “choices” I have had since that one incident. Attitudes. Fears. Frustrations. But one in particular surprised me, because I thought this particular idol had been long dead . . .
“How could you be so stupid!” I felt that well up in me, roll on my tongue and almost erupt from my mouth before I caught myself. Wow. I thought that habit was gone.
But God is faithful, as in the above text. He made me aware of what I was about to say before I said it, so I could make the choice to declare the statement a lie, and send it back to the pit from whence it came.
I have had the opportunity today to be thankful —
for the kindness of an employee who literally walked the store, calling my cell from hers, to see if we could hear the ring;
for a gracious and loving husband who simply said, “I’m sure I have lost a lot more money; order a new phone.”
that I didn’t have all my cash in the wallet.
What I am most thankful for, however, is that I have a choice. I am no longer a slave to every negative emotion or thought. Christ has paid for every one of them, so that I can be free.
Free to choose to believe the truth despite what I “feel;”
Free to forgive the thief;
Free to be grateful for what I have been given, rather than resentful of what is withheld (thank you, Elizabeth Elliot, again).