“And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf.”—Exodus 32:4 (ESV)
Do you have a social media account like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram and the rest? What number of comments, replies, likes or shares daily would you need to feel like you matter in this world?
How many people do you need to reach on a daily basis through your social profiles to feel like you are making a mark on this world?
We, by nature, anchor our identity and meaning in small things. All of us look to created things to define us. We look to things smaller than Jesus for life.
Social media is one of the things we have crafted a messiah out of, but there are so many others.
Please, don’t read this and go like: “Goodie! Paul never puts his phone down, and Leroy is ever looking at his Instagram. I am gonna forward this to them, God is finally speaking to them.”
Wait a minute….
….this is you posting your pictures on Facebook every 30 minutes to garner likes and “you are hot gal” kind of comments; this is me trying to tell everyone that I had KFC for lunch via a selfie.
This is you dressing to impress, most of the time in uncomfortable attire; this is me standing in front of the mirror for 30 minutes so that my hair would look perfect (this world needs to marvel at my afro!).
This is you trying to win every argument, even the insignificant ones; this is me trying to make a point where wisdom dictates that I should just shut up.
This is you trying to fix the world by telling everyone what they should be doing (because you know and everyone else doesn’t); this is me judging people who are unlike me.
This is us trying to force an accent; this is us trying to walk with swagger in a new town because first impressions can do to us a world of good.
We all live for these things. They define us; they are our meaning and identity. We have a problem with people who are different from us, we even fight those who carry divergent opinions.
Because of the first Adam, we have all fallen short of God’s requirement of perfection. We have looked for answers in simple imaginable things when God gives us Himself—the unimaginable, unfathomable as our identity.
Like the Israelites, we have taken the gifts God has given us, and crafted idols out of them. We have taken good things and turned them into ultimate things.
Our skill, like Aaron and the Israelites, is to craft idols out the good things God has given to us like social media, friends, education, work, family, property, knowledge, theology etcetera.
But there is Good News: Jesus came. The old hymn says: “He came to love, heal and forgive.” In His perfect love demonstrated by His perfect life for you and me, Jesus forgave our idolatry and then healed our image before God.
He takes our place by becoming our idolatry. He was perfect, worshipped the Father in truth and junked Satan’s demands in the desert. But he bled and died.
He bled and died for your idolatry and mine. He was whipped to pulp for our idolatry. Nails ran through Him for our Idolatry. This is love, that God would die for the ones who rejected Him.
But you who are in Christ will not be condemned because Christ was condemned in your stead. In your place condemned He stood, sealed your pardon with His blood. Hallelujah what a Saviour!
“By grace alone shall I inherit
That blissful home beyond the skies.
Works count for naught. The Lord incarnate
Has won for me the heavenly prize.
Salvation by His death we wrought,
His grace alone my pardon brought.”
(Christian L. Scheidt)
You are justified in God’s sight. You are wholly forgiven and the Kingdom of Heaven is yours. So “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32, ESV).
Just like that, because of Jesus.
That is your Lifeline, Amen.