James 1:12-15 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
What has infertility to do with idolatry? (Apologies to Tertullian.) At first glance, not much. Infertility is technically defined as the inability to conceive after one year of trying. Idolatry makes most people think of little statues and false gods. But when you define idolatry as worshiping anything other than the one true, triune God, a connection between infertility and idolatry is made. Infertility is difficult for me primarily because I desire a child more than I desire God.
James 1 tells me that it is my own desire that entices me away from loving God. All the sins that have been exposed in my life over the past year and a half - jealousy, self-pity, anxiety, unbelief, pride - they all have been conceived by my desire for a child. (Not the kind of conception I'm really aiming for!) This does not mean that my desire for a child is itself wrong or sinful. In fact, God's word makes it clear that children are gifts, blessings. But most idolatry lies not in what we want, but in wanting it too much. If I pursue something good, like a child, more than I pursue my Lord and Savior, who is good and does good, then I am an idolater.
I've spent some time in recent weeks reading through Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands Ch. 5 and meditating on James 1 & 4 and Galatians 5. I'd like to take several posts to share what I've learned about the idolatry in my heart and about the hope for change offered to me by Jesus. Here's a quote from the beginning of Paul Tripp's book to set a foundation for the rest to come:
"As sinners, we have a natural bent to turn away from the Creator to serve the creation. We turn away from hope in a Person to hope in systems, ideas, people, or possessions. Real Hope stares us in the face, but we do not see Him. ... We must not offer people a system of redemption, a set of insights and principles. We offer people a Redeemer." (p. 8)