When Destroying Idols is an Idol

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God wants your attention. He wants your experience of Him to be unclouded. He wants you to know Him deeply, because he knows that since he is the source of all life and joy, being close to him is the best thing for us.  An “idol” is a God substitute–something, usually a good thing, that receives our attention in the place of God. This can literally be any created person, place, thing, or idea, that we hope is as our source of satisfaction.

“Idol hunting” is when we set out to “dethrone” anything in our lives besides God. This involves asking a lot of probing questions such as “What do I feel like I cannot live without? What is giving me ultimate fulfillment? What do I want to be said about me after I’m dead? What helps me sleep at night? What keeps me up at night?”

So far so good.

But what happens when idol-hunting takes God’s place?

Especially among the circles of the young reformed type like myself, the devil has twisted the zeal of many to rid their lives of God-substitutes, making idol-killing itself, an idol.

Here are a few signs that idol-hunting has become an idol in your life:

1.  You reject human relationships. “This is too enjoyable, so it must be a sin.” You can’t focus in good conversation because it’s too “low” or “earthly” for a real-deal Christian. You withdraw from your children, your spouse, your girlfriend/boyfriend, your friends, and so forth, because you’re afraid that they will take God’s place. While you were still a sinner, Christ died for you; therefore, while you are still a sinner, God is for you.  You can dishonor God by not enjoying His gifts as He intends.

2. You feel guilty after having fun. “That was so good, it probably was an idol.” Yet Jesus himself was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton! He ate, and drank, and had fun. He was accused of enjoying food and drink too much.  He saved the best wine as a sign of the kingdom’s arrival at the wedding at Cana.

3. You can’t see God in anything but your Bible. Do you know that there are other ways of experiencing God than sitting on a hard wooden chair drinking vinegar and reading your Bible? Pursue a hobby that has no immediate connection to studying theology. Sit on a comfortable couch, and do nothing for 15 minutes.

4. You don’t work unless you’re “evangelizing.” Work is too mundane for you, and since it requires too much of your time, you disdain it, unless you can use it for a “spiritual conversation.”

4. You’re afraid.  You’re paralyzed by the potential of your having an idol.  Reality check: You’ve got more idols in your heart right now that you can ever imagine.

5. You think you can attain a state in which you have no idols in your life. “I can move further in my life as soon as I get God into the number one spot.”  You didn’t have the strength to get God in your life in the first place, so what makes us think that we have to make ourselves perfect for God to use us now? Thinking that we can ever attain an idol-free state is shallow and doesn’t take into consideration how complex we are and how much baggage we carry into this relationship with God.

6. You can’t imagine a vacation that isn’t a “mission” trip.

We can work to change our circumstances until we’re exhausted, by changing friends, jobs, hobbies, diets, to create a life that is completely dull, because to enjoy would be to worship, and to worship would be idolatry.  This is paralysis to a life that is less than what God has created for us, an idolatry in itself, because it stiff arms God’s gifts, and doesn’t recognize God’s goodness in them.

Go take a walk in the woods, with no destination in mind.







Written by keywoodblog

December 21, 2015 at 2:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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