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Don't let a hobby bump God off center stage

Date published: 1/5/2013

IF YOU asked my family to describe me, they would most certainly include the word "obsessive" in their characterization. If something new sparks my interest or I come across a new hobby, I can think and speak of nothing else for days--maybe weeks.

When I want to know more about something, I research that topic day and night. From the two weeks that I spent researching roller blades before buying my first pair to the months spent learning how to bake my own bread, the list goes on and on. The flute that I had to get that very day, baby-wearing, spinning, knitting, weaving, any Apple product and don't even get me started on genealogy. The research on that one never, ever ends.

If I am honest with myself, though, all of these things became idols in my life. None of the above are necessarily bad; in fact, in their proper place they can be very good. It is when they are placed in the center of my life, the place where only God should be, that they become a problem.

The first two of the Ten Commandments focus on God's desire to be first and foremost in our lives. In Deuteronomy 20:3-4 God says, "You will have no other gods before me. You will not make for yourself an image in the form of anything above or the earth below. You will not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God."

Even so, God's jealousy is not the "green-eyed monster" so often associated with human jealousy. Instead, God's jealousy stems from His desire to be on the throne of our lives.

I believe it is safe to say that the majority of Christians have never physically bowed down to an image that we have created. Unfortunately, many of us have still broken these commandments.

When we put all of our thought, time, effort and money into something other than God, that thing has become an idol in our lives. When my identity becomes that of "knitter" or "runner" or anything other than "child of God," I have stepped out of God's will for my life.

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