You do it. I do it. Even though we don’t want to have them, we do. Sometimes we pretend not to have them, and sometimes we want nothing more than to give them away. They need to be broken; yet, sometimes, we hold the hammer in one hand and our idols in the other, and think our intentions are enough to stop our idolizing.
But it’s not enough. Idols bring death. Freedom brings life. Which do we value more?
Our freedom comes when the idols are destroyed and we walk away from the pieces. Our freedom becomes reality when we walk through the open door to our cages, by the power and freedom He has already given us.
Again and again, YHWH reminds His people that He has brought them “out of the land Egypt, out of the house of slavery” [Exodus 20:2]. He reminds them that they no longer dwell in houses of idols or are bound by shackles of captivity. He has redeemed them; He has set them free. This same message transfers over to us, His children, through the work of Jesus Christ [Galatians 5:1]. But like Israel, we continue to either walk back to Egypt and re-shackle ourselves to past sins, or we stay within our cages trying to live a life that enables us freedom and (false) comfort.
Why? Why do we idolize idols so much?
Idols for us can be a number of things: work, money, popularity, laziness, power, porn, booze, drugs, materials, sports, escapism, family, and so forth. Basically, the simple litmus test to know if you idolize idols is this: what stands in front of God? If within our life, God is not #1, then idols abound. I’m not sure where I got this quote, but I have this written in the front of my bible: “When a person, passion, possession, or predicament has more influence and control than God, that’s idolatry.” OUCH!
This post was prompted by a devo over at SkitGuys.com. If you don’t know these guys, or have never seen them, you’ve got to – they are hilarious and straight-to-the-heart-teachers.
Here is part of their devo about idol worship:
God’s first commandment to the Israelites was that they should have no other gods before him because he is a jealous God (Exodus 20: 3-5). This isn’t because God is selfish, but because that is his rightful place. He is Lord over the universe and deserves to be Lord in our hearts. In the same way a husband and wife are rightfully jealous for each other’s love, the church is the bride of Christ and he is jealous because he loves her.
A lot of us would never think of ourselves as idolaters, but think of this way: if you had a couple hours to kill, how would you spend it? Watching TV, going to the gym, shopping? How often would you “waste time” with God just because you enjoy it more than any other pastime? Jonah offered a public declaration of praise to the Lord. Who or what do you praise in front of others? How often do you praise God publically? Our actions reflect our hearts.
I would venture to say the easiest god to serve in our culture is yourself. We are a society devoted to making ourselves happier and being self-sufficient. Even as Christians, we may put our comfort before God’s calling or trust our own judgment instead of praying for God to give us wisdom. We may spend time in God’s word but continue to try to find love and joy within ourselves. Being a Christian isn’t a guarantee you aren’t an idolater anymore than being an Israelite meant they wouldn’t worship a golden calf.
What idol(s) are you refusing to let go of? What keeps you bound up in past shackles, or why haven’t you left your cage yet?
I found this song today, by Josh Garrels, that speaks of being FREE from the things that once held us captive. I have it on repeat.