may 21

Reflecting Our Idolatrous Hearts

By: Pastor Dennis Yim

Key Passage: 1 John 5:20-21

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may

know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God

and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.


It’s easy for us to get caught up in our discomfort and the disrupted rhythms of our life that this

pandemic has caused. I hear many say that they are suffering and are willing to risk their lives

and others just so that they can do whatever they please. I don’t believe we are actually suffering.

I do believe we are struggling with our personal loneliness (and other such things) and with the

disruption in our normal rhythms of worship and community (Psalm 42). These are legitimate

things that we (the Church) are struggling with on a daily basis; worshipping together over Zoom

is not the same, and to be honest, I still feel quite disconnected and unfulfilled. But I do believe

that’s how it should be. We’re created to be together physically; we’re created to be in face-to-

face relationships – Christianity is not anti-material (such as Platonism), rather the physical flesh

is extremely important. But instead of saying that we are suffering because of these things, let’s

take advantage of what God has given us: time and space to be with Him so that we can examine

our hearts.


Let’s admit this difficult truth: we aren’t suffering but God has graciously placed a massive halt

and pause on our lives – inconvenience is not the same as suffering. Just because it has become

more inconvenient for us to live our lives (as we please) for the sake of others does not mean we

are suffering. If anything we are joining everyone in our community in caring and loving for one

another by following the shelter-in-place order. If we love our neighbors, then living in this “new

normal” should not be seen as an inconvenience but as service and love. But if we find this

“inconvenience” annoying or frustrating I think we have to admit that our heart’s love is

disordered. Why do we find things inconvenient? If we’re blatantly honest with ourselves it’s

because we can’t live and do things how we want to, we don’t want things or people to disrupt

our rhythm of life even if that means others need to either get out of the way or they need to risk

their life being around us. What the Bible calls this is selfishness. And what is selfishness?

Selfishness is the worship and love of oneself. In our Western culture, we’re bombarded with

messages that says worship you and only you or love you above all else. Or worse, the so called

“Christian” version of this message says: God will serve you and do whatever you want Him to

do for you. But Jesus makes it clear for us in His word, whenever our heart’s loves are

disordered, we usually worship ourselves, other people, other things instead of God; we actually

demand God to follow us. But when Jesus comes to us and enters into a covenant marriage-like

relationship with us, He says to us: “You no longer love yourself, your family, your friends, your

careers, etc., but you love me ultimately and above all of those things.” Jesus doesn’t simply say

that, but He wins us over by loving us in such an unconditional way that we can’t help but love

Him ultimately – look at the cross and the empty tomb, and the long laundry list of His

covenantal promises in His word.


Let’s admit this difficult truth: we aren’t suffering but God has graciously placed a massive halt

and pause on our lives – inconvenience is not the same as suffering. Just because it has become

more inconvenient for us to live our lives (as we please) for the sake of others does not mean we

are suffering. If anything we are joining everyone in our community in caring and loving for one

another by following the shelter-in-place order. If we love our neighbors, then living in this “new

normal” should not be seen as an inconvenience but as service and love. But if we find this

“inconvenience” annoying or frustrating I think we have to admit that our heart’s love is

disordered. Why do we find things inconvenient? If we’re blatantly honest with ourselves it’s

because we can’t live and do things how we want to, we don’t want things or people to disrupt

our rhythm of life even if that means others need to either get out of the way or they need to risk

their life being around us. What the Bible calls this is selfishness. And what is selfishness?

Selfishness is the worship and love of oneself. In our Western culture, we’re bombarded with

messages that says worship you and only you or love you above all else. Or worse, the so called

“Christian” version of this message says: God will serve you and do whatever you want Him to

do for you. But Jesus makes it clear for us in His word, whenever our heart’s loves are

disordered, we usually worship ourselves, other people, other things instead of God; we actually

demand God to follow us. But when Jesus comes to us and enters into a covenant marriage-like

relationship with us, He says to us: “You no longer love yourself, your family, your friends, your

careers, etc., but you love me ultimately and above all of those things.” Jesus doesn’t simply say

that, but He wins us over by loving us in such an unconditional way that we can’t help but love

Him ultimately – look at the cross and the empty tomb, and the long laundry list of His

covenantal promises in His word.


Jesus is calling all of us to reexamine our hearts and to see who or what truly resides at the center

of our hearts. This time of solitude and quietness allows us to come to Him with humility and

humbleness – coming to Him in whatever state that you are in, and in the state of lowliness or

pour in spirit. It may hurt at times when Jesus reveals our idolatries, but it hurts because truth

exposes our false gods yet simultaneously we are comforted by His grace because we hear His

loving words: “I still love you, I already forgave you and will once again make things right in

you.” My friends, if you find yourself frustrated and angered by these “inconveniences,” I beg of

you to go to the Lord, pray to Him, read His word and allow Him to reorder your loves so that

you may first love Him and then your neighbors over yourself.