"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ....Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:5-8, 10-11).
"An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give. Idolatry functions widely inside religious communities when doctrinal truth is elevated to the position of a false god. This occurs when people rely on the rightness of their doctrine for their standing with God rather than on God himself and his grace. It is a subtle but deadly mistake. The sign that you have fallen into this form of self-justification is that you become what the book of Proverbs calls a “scoffer”. Scoffers always show contempt and disdain for opponents rather than graciousness. This is a sign that they do not see themselves as sinners saved by grace. Instead, their trust in the rightness of their views makes them feel superior." ~Tim Keller
Last night I was complaining again about the 'modern' churches of today to my husband. I admit, it was coming across very prideful and nasty and Jim told me. Today I came across the above quote and realized that I was making my "doctrine" an idol. I knew I was wrong and repented of my sin. That night I went to sleep and had a dream about driving in a car and the Lord was speaking to me. I can't remember the whole dream but I remember God saying, "Brenda, are you making sure of your salvation? Do you love Me or just love my gifts?" That's all I remembered from the dream but then I realized I read that verse in 2 Peter 1 just a few days ago. It was like God was reminding me again through His Word, in my dream. I woke up realizing that I've been prideful again, was worshipping the idol of self and because of my idol, was condemning fellow believers because 'all they care about is being moral!' I forget, that I'm by no means, better then anyone else! I need to check my walk with Jesus and not worry about 'fixing' others. Also, God tells me to love my fellow brothers and sisters because if I don't, then I hate Him. It may be harsh but its the truth. So then, is condemning the brethren loving them? No its not. This morning I got on my knees and said, "Lord, I have come to the realization that I am making 'doctrine' an idol. I also have loved being prideful and pointing fingers at certain believers. You tell me that You hate idols and Your Word says to love ALL people. But Lord I can't love people in my own strength! I need You to give me that love for those fellow believers that get under my skin. And please violently dash those 'idols' that have taken Your place! Please help me!"
I know that only God can dash those idols. I know that I can only love my 'brothers and sisters' and others with God's love. In my flesh I can't do it! But that is why I need to be close to my Shepherd daily and I need to remember, to constantly, believe in the Gospel. Then with God's help I can destroy the idol of self and with God's love (and it may take time) I can say, "I love my brother's and sisters in Christ. Not in a 'have-to-because-its-the-Christian-thing-to-do' way but with God's love! Thank you Jesus for reminding me!!