Toy Story

Two summers ago, I went to see Toy Story III at the movie theater with my family (opening night, of course). Ever since the original Toy Story’s release in 1995, I’ve absolutely fallen madly in love with Pixar films. I could write several blogs about all of my favorite characters and scenes from all of my favorite Pixar movies, but I’ll just focus on Toy Story for now, since I can’t stay up all night (after all, tomorrow’s the Lord’s Day!), and since something about the storyline from the first movie to the third one has recently caught my attention. { I could also write about how I actually cried in the last Toy Story despite my ardent attempts to never cry in public—and despite the fact that it’s a movie about toys, for cryin’ out loud…but that’s too embarrassing, so I’ll skip to something more substantial. 🙂 }

The story contains lots and lots of hard-core jealousy. Perhaps the most obvious example of this occurs in the first movie, whenever favorite toy Woody is replaced by super cool space toy, Buzz Lightyear. In the second movie, it’s the other vintage Woody’s Roundup toys that are jealous of Woody, who has a child to which he can go home and actually be loved. In the third film, it’s the toys at the daycare center who are threatened by and are jealous of Andy’s toys. These toys feel that their original owners replaced them with better and newer toys before they allowed themselves to be “washed up” at a daycare center. In their growing bitterness, the forsaken toys gradually transformed the daycare center into a ruthless prison for toys. It’s jealousy that drives the plot in all three movies.

Have you ever had a friend who was jealous and maybe a little possessive of you? Maybe he/she didn’t like it whenever you hung out with your other friends instead of him/her. This can be a dangerous predicament if you’re ever dating someone who allows his jealous tendencies to make him want to control you. In general, we think of jealousy as a very bad thing, and it usually is. When passed around among humans, jealousy usually represents bitterness, heartache, selfishness, and often cruelty. Shakespeare even called jealousy the “green-eyed monster” in his play, Othello.

But have we forgotten even God can be jealous?

Check out the first five verses of Exodus 20:

“And God spoke all these words:

‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.’

Our God was not hesitant in admitting his jealous nature. Like the faithful husband knows the pain of his wife’s infidelity, God feels the hurt of unfaithfulness. God uses this metaphor often in the scriptures. If you’re looking for something new to study, I suggest you look at passages where God compares his relationship to the church to a husband/wife relationship. You will grow to appreciate more and more just how much God loves you. Deep, beautiful stuff right there.

We all know the damage caused when a woman cheats on her husband with another man (and vice versa). Adultery is condemned time and again in the scriptures (Matthew 19:9, Exodus 20:14, I John 3:4, Luke 18:20, Matthew 5:27-28, for starters). Are there ways that we can commit spiritual adultery? In the passage I mentioned earlier from Exodus 20, God tells us that He is our God, and because He is our God, we are not to make anyone or anything else gods to us.

When the passage was written, the problem was literal idols–made of gold and silver—that people created to worship instead of the one true God who created them. The modern day equivalent would be worshipping a Buddha statue (I never understood why the little fat, happy man was anything but merely comical to people). But in America, literal idol worship is not that common. Today, the idols we worship might be less obvious but every bit as dangerous and condemning as the golden calves the Israelites were tempted to worship.

How often do we go absolutely crazy at a Saturday night concert of one of our favorite artists—singing at the tops of our lungs, screaming and cheering after every song, and nearly passing out with excitement if we happen to actually shake hands with the artist or even get close to him, and then on Sunday morning, we arrive late, forgetting our Bibles, sit through worship with our eyes half-open, barely hearing anything the preacher says and barely mumbling the words of each hymn sung?  Don’t fool yourself. God isn’t blind. He can clearly see who your god is. What would happen if Christians transferred that kind of excitement they have at a big concert to worshiping God, evangelism, and benevolence? God gives us a VIP pass to get as close to him as we please, and to talk to him as long as we want any time of the day, and so often, we ignore it.

For many, money is a god. They’re so busy making money that they forget to make time for God, or to use that money to His glory. For others, popularity can easily become our idol. When popularity takes precedence over God, we are quick to compromise our standards in reference to things like alcohol, sexuality, immodest clothing, or gossip in order to be considered “cool.”

God is zealously eager to protect and hold on to what is important to Him, but he wants us to choose Him above all other gods. The gods that try to drag us into their clenches on earth might seem innocent and provide us with temporary pleasure, but everything on earth that takes us away from our focus on God and His will for us is an idol that will burn up with the rest of the earth one day, and the people that we idolize over God will be waiting in line with you at the Judgment Day, and it’s not going to matter at all how famous or popular they were on earth. They will have to face the Lord alone, just as you will.

Don’t be an idol worshipper.

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)

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