As we direct our focus to the Father and wait patiently for His will to open wide the way in our lives, we may discover that there are many things standing in the way of deepening our relationship with God and exercising our faith in Him.
These strongholds—or idols—are very subtle. They steal into your life covertly, rooting themselves in your emotions and becoming more important to you than God.
No one can identify an idol except the Lord … and He sees your heart clearly. Anything that competes for your total devotion to God is an idol in your life. So what is it in you? What are those things—hidden or known to you—that stand in your way of waiting patiently for the Lord’s will to manifest in your life? Ask the Father to reveal them to you. He’s promised He’ll be faithful to show you if and where an idol exists. But be very careful that you don’t rationalize away what He reveals to you. If the Lord puts His finger on something in your life, then set your mind to deal with it immediately.
Here are some common idols in our lives:
- Our Own Understanding—We often lose our focus on the Father when we don’t fully understand what’s happening, so we repeatedly analyze our situations, scrutinizing them incessantly from every angle we can conceive. When events don’t proceed the way we expect, we’re left discouraged and disillusioned. Don’t fall into this trap. God unmistakably commands you to trust Him and not to rely on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5-6).
- A Sense of Security—We don’t like being out of control or trusting our future to Someone we don’t see. We prefer a steady stream of income, reliable resources, and predictable results. So when we’re forced to wait, watch our bills pile up, or encounter threats that challenge our sense of wellbeing, our insecurity breeds a dangerous distrust of the Father.
- Goals and Dreams—We become so driven to achieve our objectives and daily goals that we forget the eternal life we’ve been given (John 17:3) and all the good things the Lord has purposed for us to accomplish. Our dreams become an idol that are more important than what the Father desires to do in and through us.
- Relationships—Certain relationships in our lives can become idols. No matter how much you attempt to focus on the Father, your attention returns to this person or group of people. Feelings of rejection, fear, lack of self-worth, or bitterness continue to arise because of your circumstances—and ultimately they drive you away from God, not toward Him.
- The Past—Past relationships can become impediments in our relationship with God. When terrible things happen, the human response is to wonder why the Father allowed us to suffer. And when other people hurt us, when we harbor unforgiveness, or when we allow the unkind treatment from others to shape how we see the Father, these can become idols in our lives, undermining our faith in Him as we wait.
- Hobbies—Our hobbies and preferred forms of entertainment might also be competing with our relationship with and faith in God. Though pastimes such as sports, shopping, television, exercise, social media, and other interests aren’t necessarily wrong in themselves, if they have more of your attention than the Lord does, then there’s certainly a problem.
Remember: Whatever you release to the Lord, you get more and better in return. I’ve seen it happen in my own life and can say with the utmost confidence that you can trust the Father completely with anything He asks of you. So open your hands and let your heavenly Father have what you’ve been holding on to. When you place your complete faith and trust in Him, inviting Him to be number one in your life, the blessings will flow beyond comprehension, and it’ll make your time of waiting on Him that much easier and more fruitful.