Guitars and Thumb Wars

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. 1 John 5:21

The apostle John closes his incredible New Testament letter about of love, salvation and assurance with this seemingly out of place and random thought: “Keep yourselves from idols.” God doesn’t act randomly. For me, the placement of this instruction causes it to stand out as a wonderful, stark reminder for people like me that can be so easily distracted and wander off the narrow path. John reminds us - God will share His glory with no man or thing.

Two major events happened in my life the year I turned nine. I was born again, and I got my first guitar. It seems like the two things have wrestled ever since. Sometimes it’s been an all out brawl and sometimes just a thumb war but a battle none the less. The good news is that after a lot of years, a lot of miles, and a lot of lessons, I think the fight’s finally winding down. The problem for me has always been learning to give everything I have or am to the Lord. Art is one thing that I’ve had a hard time letting go of.

I got the guitar on Christmas Eve. I learned three chords on Christmas Day. I wrote my first song before the New Year came. It was one verse long and filled with all the angst of a nine year old boy trying to deal with fights, separation, rumors of divorce and a living situation that involved bouncing around between relatives. I still remember every word and the hope I felt that I had found a voice people would listen to. I know that guitar, the music and the writing were gifts from the Lord. I’m filled with gratitude for the life He’s given me but, as happens with so many of us, I’ve often found myself worshiping the gift rather than the Giver.
You see, it’s not enough to worship God, we need to worship only God. Then all the good gifts that come to us from Heaven can shine as the beautiful things they’re intended to be; for His glory, not ours.

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Strength on the Journey!


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