"Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!" (Jonah 2:8-9)
Another translation puts it "Those who cling to worthless idols..."
When I pay regard or cling to vain, worthless idols, I am rejecting, turning away from, forsaking the steadfast love of God because there is something I want more than I want Him.
Those idols in my life? They don't look like this so they're a little trickier to spot.
- Approval of man
Just to name a few off the top of my head.
But those are enough. Clinging to those things turns my heart away from what is good, turns my soul toward what will not fulfill or satisfy or bring joy. Clinging to my pride, my control, my desire to be comfortable or well-liked means I am forsaking the only thing, the only One who can actually give me what I'm searching for and trying to obtain from all those other things.
So what do I do? How do I stop paying regard to vain idols? I'm not bowing down to a golden calf of my pride, so what does it look like to stop worshiping the idols in my life?
I think the answer is in the rest of the passage:
- Have a voice of thanksgiving - A thankful person is usually aware of where his gifts come from and isn't always looking around for more. Thankfulness tends to produce feelings of satisfaction and contentment and acknowledgement that you already have so much more than you deserve.
- Make a sacrifice to God - I'm not talking a ritual animal sacrifice here. I'm talking a sacrifice of those things to which I'm clinging. A sacrifice of my comfort, my vanity, my own wants, my need to be in control. Taking those things, each time they creep up and demand a choice from me, taking them and choosing something better.
- Pay what is vowed - When I became a follower of Christ, I vowed my life. So to pay what I have vowed means I give up the old to become the new. I offer my whole self to be shaped and transformed into the likeness of Jesus. I let go of what I think I need so I can be given what is infinitely better than anything I would have imagined.
And I do these things because "Salvation belongs to the Lord." It doesn't come from myself, from my home, my bank account, my children, my husband, my reputation, from food or exercise or church attendance. Salvation doesn't come from good deeds or good appearances or a lot of knowledge, not from success, from my parents, from everyone loving me, from a drug or a drink, from accumulating more stuff, from a positive attitude, from my circumstances.
Salvation belongs to the Lord. That's the only source. He's the only option. If salvation is what I want, there is only one place to turn - away from my idols and toward the Savior.
What are the worthless idols your heart is running after? What is turning you away from the steadfast love of God?
*This post is part of a 31 day series called Real Life. If this is your first stop along the way, I am so glad you’re here! All of the blog posts in this series will be linked together on the intro/Day 1 page if you are interested in reading more. Click here to be taken to Day One. Thanks for reading!