By Christina Roberts
For the past two and a half years, my team and I have been praying for the Spirit of God to sweep across South Sudan, for idols to be burned, and for the allegiance of people to be shifted only to Jesus. There is a decent amount of syncretism in South Sudan, meaning that people accept Jesus as a God, they may attend church, but they also still follow traditional beliefs. Many people may still have idols, charms, or shrines at their homes to the other gods, and they may still make visits to the local witch doctor.
A few weeks ago, a man showed up on our compound. He had been very sick the night before. In the past he had attended church, but secretly kept charms for protection. He came to us looking for a pastor because he wanted to burn his idols and begin to follow Jesus. I was privileged to be present for the idol burning “party." A small fire was built, and some of our compound workers began to dance around the fire, singing a song about “throwing Satan in the fire."
It was such a gift to be able to experience this. Countless prayers have been prayed. I have heard stories from other parts of South Sudan about idols being burned, but to experience the answer to prayer first hand was so powerful and extremely encouraging.
Seeing this public display of allegiance shift caused me to think about how it would look in America. If we as Americans were to publicly “burn our idols” when we accepted Christ, what would we burn? Would it be a car, a house, a lifestyle, a job, comfort, a family, a dream, fitness, food, safety, a desire, social media, or a self-image?
Are we as Christians in America syncretists as well; do we believe in Jesus, but have a false image of who He is or have secret “charms” or “idols” in our life that we are putting trust in? Would we have to continuously burn idols in our life?
I have been so challenged by this, praying that God would show me what the idols in my life are. Let me tell you, it’s a continual process, as I routinely check my heart to see if there are things that I have elevated above God. It can be painful at times, but God is so faithful and abundantly gracious in walking me through releasing my grip on the idols in my heart.