2 Corinthians 5:1- 7
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
I recently read a post that the Holy Spirit used to convict me in a major way—the phrase was directed at believers who have doubtless been struggling these last few months and it said, “we’ve made an idol out of certainty.” As I’ve mulled over this concept I had to ask myself, is my need to understand and be in control of all that is happening around me replacing my need for faith? Friends, I’m afraid it has. By nature I’m a very organized person. I like a plan; I pride myself on communicating as often and as clearly as possible so everyone under my leadership understands the plan and is “together.” Over the last few months I’ve realized that my security has been in working within constructs of certainty. I’ve made an idol out of certainty.
Am I alone in this? I doubt it. In my 20 years of full-time ministry, I’ve NEVER had my understanding of how to serve in local church ministry turned upside down like this. I long to connect with our people in person, I miss rehearsing our choir and orchestra, I miss making plans for events such as our biggest event of the year—Christmas at Ivy Creek. I just can’t fathom why these things, which minister to countless souls, should not happen. I’ve literally prayed so many times, “God what are you doing? What am I missing here?” In my frustration, I’ve been reminded that my faith is not completely yielded to the leadership of the Holy Spirit if I’m constantly praying that God return us to the normal we once had if all I want to do is erase these last few months like they didn’t happen. I wouldn’t have learned what I’m learning now! There is no way back to the certainty of before March of 2020. The Holy Spirit is saying to me, “I’m in control–I’m not surprised by what is happening around you–walk by faith and not by sight–don’t miss what I am teaching you in this.”
As I’ve mulled over my lack of faith, I’ve realized that my attitude has reflected my building frustration that I am not in control—this has come out negative and harsh to many around me. Everyday our new normal is disrupted with a change…it’s exhausting and frustrating. But, the Spirit reminds me again and again—walk by faith—trust me–remember what IS certain–I never change! Stop using your human constructs to understand what I’m doing; stop making an idol of certainty and relinquish control to me.
If you’re struggling as I am, here are a few ways the Lord has reminded me I can do the work of walking by faith and not by sight:
- Pray for those under my care. Put the needs of others above my need to be in control of the ministry to which God has called me. I will continue to check on our folks regularly as well since I cannot see them in person yet.
- Limit news and social media. Seriously, it’s eating me alive to see how the enemy is using social media to drive even believers to attack each other.
- Spend more time in the Word. Today’s sermon today was on James 1: 21-27 and we were reminded to be doers of the Word, which means we have to be so saturated in the Word that we reflect the words therein. The Holy Spirit, Christ in me, will change me/us from the inside out.
2 thoughts on “Idol of Certainty”
Will: What a blessing to see my thoughts – and my idol – expressed so clearly. I really appreciate this article and I am going to keep a copy and reread it often. I know it will continue to be a blessing as I, and others, deal daily with all the “disappointments” that are really the Holy Spirit atwork.