Call It What You Want

Day 4 of 5 • This day’s reading



Few things have the power to consume our every thought like a romantic relationship. If you haven’t been there, you’ve certainly seen it in a movie or something…suddenly nothing else in a person’s life matters and every waking moment is spent thinking about, talking to, or hanging out with the new love of your life. I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade (falling in love is a fun experience), but this can quickly become spiritually dangerous.

You see, whenever we become consumed (dare I say obsessed) with something or someone, we are in danger of committing what the Old Testament referred to as idolatry. Now, back in the day, idolatry was usually talking about physical idols…like, some guy would build a statue of a llama, decide it was a deity worthy of worship, and start worshiping that llama. But, the heart of God’s law against idolatry was that we would not have any gods before (in other words, "of more importance") than Him. God wants to be (and frankly, deserves to be) the most important person or thing in our lives. 

Now, you may be thinking, “okay, that’s cool info about ‘gods’ in the olden-times, but I thought we were talking about boyfriends/girlfriends???” Here’s the deal: anything or anyone who becomes a higher priority than God in our lives becomes an idol. Just because we don’t pray to or physically worship that person the way we tend to think of worship doesn’t mean they haven’t become a lower-case-g god in our lives. Are you spending more time on your relationship with this person than your relationship with God? Are you pouring more effort into romantic gestures than serving your church or reaching out to others? It’s possible you’re flirting with idolatry.

There’s actually a pretty crazy story from the Old Testament that I think perfectly illustrates the attitude we should have about our dating relationships. You’ll read the story for yourself in a minute, but essentially, God was testing the great Bible hero Abraham to see if anything (or anyone) was more important than God in his life. Spoiler alert: Abraham passed the test, and God blessed him more than he ever imagined because Abraham refused to hold anything back from God. 

I don’t know the specifics of you and your dating relationship (or your desire to be in one), but let me ask you this: would you be willing to end your relationship (or stay single) if God asked you to? Would you hesitate? Would you try to argue with God? Or would you just say, “God, you are the most important thing in my life, and if you want this relationship out of the way, I will absolutely obey.” I know it’s kind of a theoretical question, but I think the honest answer in your gut will reveal if your relationship has become an idol. Don’t mishear me – I’m not saying that God necessarily wants you to break up with someone (in the same way He didn't actually want Abraham to harm Isaac). I’m just saying that we should hold onto these relationships with an open hand, absolutely willing to let go of it if God ever made it clear that that’s what He wanted. God wants us to trust Him so completely that we would be willing to get rid of anything (even good things) in our lives if He asked us to. That is true surrender, and it’s a tough place to arrive and remain at.