Praying with Heart Idols
“…I the Lord have deceived that prophet” (Ezek. 14:9)
“…therefore the Lord will give you flesh and you shall eat…until it comes out of your nostrils…” (Num. 11:19, 20)
“…the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets…” (1Kings 22:23)
“…and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him.” (1Sam. 16:14).
I was engaged in a conversation with a local pastor recently in which the subject of “heart idols” came up. This brother said that he believed that people certainly do “make up their own minds about certain matters” and even embrace certain doctrines because of preconceived ideas; “hear what they want to hear” he said. And although there is some truth to that, I don’t believe that accurately describes what is really going on spiritually.
If we take a look at some of the verses that I listed above, we should be able to see something that is not just a matter of people “making up their own minds” because of preconceived ideas or mindsets, but something much more shocking than that; that is; people can inquire of the Lord with a heart that is not pure (preconceived wishes or ideas – heart idols) and the Lord might just give them an answer that is according to the idol in their heart! Isn’t that shocking? I believe that this is a reason why so many people can read and study the scriptures and continually find support for their doctrinal beliefs that are completely wrong! It all has to do with hearts that are not completely yielded to the Spirit.
Let me share with you a testimony in which the Lord carved this truth about heart idolatry upon my heart, and also on the heart of a dear sister and friend of mine:
Several years ago, a sister in the Lord was telling me about a particular issue that the Lord had been dealing with her about. It seemed as though the Lord had been asking her to do a particular thing that she was not quite comfortable in doing. She had gone on a retreat to seek the Lord for an answer about this particular matter and she had felt that she received one (an answer from the Lord). This answer, which she had received “from the Lord” had brought peace to her about the particular issue and she felt that it was resolved.
Well, it was resolved as far as she was concerned, until one day while in prayer, the Lord started bringing her attention to this issue once gain. He revealed to her at the time that He had not changed in His desire for her in the particular matter, but because she had prayed with an agenda (trying to get God to agree with what she wanted to do) He gave her an answer according to the idol in her heart. He revealed to her that she now needed to repent of this, and pray again, but this time with no desire or will of her own other than to do and obey the will of her heavenly Father.
Several days after this, the Lord then brought her through another experience to teach her (and me by extension) more about the danger of praying with heart idols.
One morning, the Lord woke me early and made it abundantly clear to me that I was to start a fast. He also made it very clear that my friend was also to fast, but that I was not to say anything to her about it, but that she needed to discern this for herself. When I talked to her late that morning, she expressed to me that she was not able to eat anything before work because she had been running late and didn’t have time – and therefore she was really hungry. I could discern that the Lord was testing her heart to see if she was listening for His still small voice in regard to the fast. She told me that the Lord might be prompting her to fast but her prayer that morning was this;
“Oh Lord, please have someone bring me something to eat at work today for I am really hungry” (It’s hard to put all the details in this letter but the Lord had been dealing with her for quite some time regarding a “food idol”).
Well, don’t you know, shortly after praying and after having arrived at work, one of her customers shows up with a pepperoni pizza! She happened to be on a low carbohydrate, pseudo-vegetarian diet at the time, but apparently “God” sent her a pepperoni pizza to eat! How about that! Answered prayer? Perhaps …
She ate the pizza, yes she did, and the following day it was as if the heavens opened and the Lord began to speak … VERY LOUD AND CLEAR. God was speaking to her so clearly at that time that she was literally trembling in His presence. He showed her that her ability to discern His voice and her willingness to obey it had been tested. He also showed her that because she had prayed to Him with an idol in her heart, He had responded to her prayer through that un-yielded heart that lusted after food. He had responded to and through the idol in her heart that loved food more than Him at that moment. Yes, THE LORD sent the pepperoni pizza (just as He sent a lying spirit to speak through the mouth of Ahab’s prophets). While in prayer, she had apparently closed off the side of her heart that would have discerned the Lord’s perfect will for her that morning, and because of that, her will was done (even with some supernatural assistance). Her proper response to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to fast that morning should have been this;
“Father, you know that I am hungry and my flesh cries out for food, yet not my will Father, but Yours be done. My desire Lord, my only desire, is to discern your perfect will for me in this and every situation … and then do what you tell me.”
This particular “pepperoni pizza” lesson was one of many real life lessons that were taught to us about the essentiality of having a perfectly yielded heart in prayer, as this is the only way to discern the perfect will of the Father. This applies to every aspect of our lives, including receiving revelation and insight into the scriptures. This might be shocking to some of you, but God will even give us over to the idols in our hearts which relate to pet doctrines and beliefs, even as He gave the pepperoni pizza to my friend! To our carnal minds, these doctrinal “pepperoni pizzas” can make all the sense in the world, they can appear to be in perfect line with the scriptures, and we can even believe that we’ve heard from God Himself about them, yet in reality we have been blinded to the truth by our idols… and that by THE LORD!
Is this not somewhat frightening friends, to see that our own self-will and agenda’s and even our traditional thinking and religious mindsets can actually bring a response from the Lord that is deceptive? Do you find that hard to believe? Read those scripture verses that I quoted above one more time. God will and does give us over to the idols of our hearts if our hearts are not pure and open and fully yielded to Him when we pray.
Beloved, God is dealing with many of us in this day as spiritual adults now and no longer as little children. Remember when Jesus said to Peter;” When you were young (spiritually) you girded yourself and went where you wanted, yet when you are old (spiritually mature) another will gird you (the Holy Spirit) and will lead you where you do not want to go.” Well, it seems to me that through that verse the Lord is telling us that the “spiritually mature” can no longer do what they want, or go where they want, or eat what they want, or teach what they want, or believe what they want … but they must come to a place of yielding perfectly to the Father’s will in absolutely ALL MATTERS. In order for this to happen, all heart idols must be dealt with, and this can only happen by embracing God’s judgment upon self.
There is tremendous doctrinal division and controversy over the meaning of passages of scripture in the body of Christ today, and the only way that this is ever going to change is for Christians to ask the Lord to bring total destruction and annihilation to everything that is carnal and earthy in their thinking. This can be a very painful process. Is that something that you are willing to pray for Christian? If it is … then do it … and embrace whatever God brings into your life to see this purpose accomplished in you.
And what if you don’t want to embrace the sufferings of Christ so that you might put on His mind and be able to discern the Father’s will in all matters? Well, I guess you can just sit back and relax in your spiritual darkness then. Ask the Lord for a pepperoni pizza! He will probably give it to you. Want anchovies? He will probably give that to you, too. Extra cheese? Sure! Rapture doctrine? Sure! Eternal torment for the masses? Sure! Vacation in Fiji? Sure! Whatever you want. You just name it…
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