An Unexpected Obstacle

I love football.

I enjoy watching it, playing it (touch, of course..I don’t think I’m a good candidate for tackle), and talking about it. My family has sat down on Sunday afternoons to watch football ever since I can remember, which just solidifies my affection for the sport.

My team this year is absolutely abysmal. You see, the owner of the Oakland Raiders seems to think in an alternate universe where making the worst decisions will somehow end you up in the Super Bowl. With my team being so incredibly awful, the fun of watching with bated breath, hoping my team will pull out another win is all but gone. Hanging out with my family is great still, but oftentimes the TV is glared and groaned at (my dad is a Raiders fan as well) until eventually it is turned off. This is just not a good year for football in my house.

The Lord uses funny things in our lives to teach us, doesn’t he? After my team ended up losing the first three games and things were not looking good, I actually found myself having a pretty bad attitude about the whole thing. I was really frustrated that my favorite Sunday activity was gone! It actually affected me and made me grumpy for the rest of the day after a game. Bam: I had an idol, and I knew it.

How in the world did this become so important to me? Such a silly thing to let rule my attitude. Sin is tricky that way. When we walk with the Lord for a while, we learn the things that tend to become idols. Money, relationships, other people, work, hobbies, and “me time” are a few things that can often rule our attention. There is no all inclusive list, however, so we much stay on our guard and become humble enough to ask the Lord to reveal the idolatry in our lives that we may not be aware of.

Would I have become a hermit who stays in my basement, covered in Raiders’ gear and obsessing over the plays of the last game? Not likely. However, even the “small” idols in our lives need to be addressed. The smallest obstacle in your path can become a hindrance if you are trying to run a full out sprint. In the same way, all idolatry must be dealt with in an unrelenting manner - lest our race towards Christ and his holiness is hindered.

Jonah 2:8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away God’s love for them.