“Idol-ing” in Florida

I just got back from a trip to my hometown in Florida. When I was twenty my parents decided to leave Florida and move back to their hometown in Kentucky. So we left. Ever since then I have wanted to move back – if not to my hometown, at least to Florida. As much as I wanted it and prayed about it for almost 50 years, it never worked out.
During this trip I pondered this lifelong desire and wondered why God blocked me from it. The answer came. I realized that I had treated my hometown and state as an “idol.” In fact, I have made statements like, “I’d give anything to move back;” or, “I’d do anything to go home again.” Neither of those statements is 100% true, by the way.
Then I realized that I rarely, if at all, make statements like those about God and my relationship with Him. Do you? Have you ever said (and meant), “I’d GIVE anything to God.”? How about, “I’d DO anything for God.”? You may be one who has, but I think most of us have good intentions until it’s time to be “all in” and then we tend to hold back. We stay in our comfort zones.
The Founders of our country had an “all in” attitude. Since I wasn’t there and unable to interview people like John Hancock I can only make assumptions based on my observations from their words. It appears to me that they wanted Liberty for more reasons than relief from a tyrannical British King. They saw Liberty as an “unalienable right.” That is, it was a gift from God. That gift was not to be squandered or hoarded for selfish reasons but to be used for God’s glory and the benefit of others.
You see, that is the way blessings are supposed to work. God blesses us and we, in turn, bless and honor Him often by serving others (See Genesis 12:1-3). It takes an “all in” attitude to accomplish this.
The last line of the Declaration of Independence is a moving sentiment of those “all in” men. It reads:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
In their reliance on “Providence” (God), Liberty was no idol. It was a gift from God to be used for God. America is not just a nice place to live. It is a place to live out your faith in God to bless others.
Take a moment for self-reflection. What idols are blocking your full, “all in” relationship with God? Could it be people? Ease? Financial security? Could it even be your hometown!?
God has a way of removing our idols and those things which slow us down in our relationship with Him. As the writer of Hebrews says:
“. . . let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, . . . (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV).
America needs God again. God needs us to stand “in the gap.” This takes an “all in” attitude! Are we “all in”?
~Perry Greene