God is really speaking to me about not sinking into old mindsets. There must be a battle afoot.
Acts chapter 7 is where this started for me the other day. Stephen, before he was martyred gave a speech outlining the whole history of God’s redemptive work with man. It’s a really good read, check it out. Verse 39 is what caught my attention:
“Our forefathers were unwilling to obey him (Moses), but pushed him away, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.”
For the Israelites, Egypt was the place of their slavery. Therefore, in my life, I think of Egypt as a metaphor for my old mental and spiritual slavery. It stands as a metaphor for enslaved, un-productive, and un-regenerate personal mindsets that once held me captive. The irony is, though, because those mindsets were familiar, they seem more comfortable than walking in a new place. This was Israel’s problem; ‘We were slaves, but at least we were comfortable.’
In my case, I would say that there is a part of my mind that doesn’t make a distinction between a negative change and a positive change: it just experiences any deviation from the status quo as a problem.
I saw another connection in the verses following 7:39; that the addiction to old mindsets led to idolatry (see 7:40-41). The old mindsets led to idolatry, which led to the people missing their salvation, or the visitation of their Savior, or the visitation of a messenger. It is like when Jesus mourned over Jerusalem saying “you did not recognize the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:44). They could not perceive their redemption because the idolatry they had regressed to rendered them blind to things that didn’t fit the image. Your images, that is, your idols, are filters for your perception. An idol is what you see, and what and how you see becomes what and how you worship.
According to the Strong’s Concordance, the word “idol” in the Greek, is eidolon, which is “an image or a likeness”. The origin of that word is eidos, which is “a view or a form”. In turn, the origin of eidos is eido, a verb which means, “to see”. We Christians think of idols as objects of false worship because of frequent Biblical references associating idols or images with the worship of other gods. I’m looking at the word itself in order to unveil the idolatry of my own mindset to the extent that it prevents me from fully seeing and receiving what God wants to do in my life. My mindsets are my ‘images’. They are what is seen. An an idol is an image, what is seen. My outlook is my idolatry. Idolatry has to do with my perception… among other things; how I perceive what is holy, what is not, what is redeemed, what is condemned, (on that note, check out 1 Corinthians 8:7).
The idol you might need to let go of is how you are perceiving a situation. That perception might be limiting how much God’s redemptive work is being translated into your situation. That is the type of false worship that actually poses a threat to my spiritual life, and I suspect that I am not alone.