Getting free from idols is so much harder than not picking them up to begin with. Just saying. The younger me thought idols were just a bunch of mute statues collecting dust up on a shelf. I couldn’t believe people in biblical days had worshipped a golden calf, much less any idols made with wood or stone.
I was SO much smarter than that.
I thought people must have majorly evolved from their stupidity since biblical times. I had zero context for what idols could look like in today’s society—much less knowing that there were common idols within even the church that continued to thrive and be served by multitudes of sincere believers:
Religious Idols: of church performance, activity, programs, disciplines, and martyrdom
Idols of Appearances: being diligent in service or devotion, looking good, and having everything together
Idols of Being Right: having the “correct” doctrine or residing in the “best” stream of the faith
Idols of Importance or Control: being the “knowledgeable” or “gifted” one or the person with “power and position”
I fell victim to serving many of these church idols myself. But I didn’t stop there. I was apparently REALLY good at taking just about anything and making an idol of it. And a lot of my resources got sacrificed to these various idols—whether idols of perfectionism, performance, being in control, being right; or those devoted to relationships, community, addictions, or codependent behaviors in general.
Idols always require sacrifice.
I obviously didn’t sacrifice any of my children to Baal in a fiery furnace; but I sacrificed my time, energy, and money in pursuing appearances and legitimacy that weren’t based in God. I sacrificed and compromised my unique personality in certain settings in pursuit of approval and acceptance.
I also sacrificed numerous passions and the pursuit of my destiny for many years in favor of serving productivity, the accomplishment of the moment, and an organized itinerary and house. I sacrificed much to the idols of guilt and manipulation—allowing myself to be used by others.
I even made idols of my husband and children—sacrificing too much of myself on the altar of marital and parental martyrdom and putting God on the back shelf.
That’s the thing about idols—they are SO covert.
They are usually good things that just get tipped too heavy on the scale of our heart’s devotion and sacrifice. They are not bad in themselves.
The church has its own specific flavor of idols; but honestly—everything becomes fodder for idols if we aren’t careful. Nothing new under the sun, remember? And the enemy is happy to keep us distracted with any and all misplacements of our hearts’ devotion. He doesn’t care if we are serving alcohol, television, or church martyrdom as long as we remain stuck, UN-transformed, and UN-yielded to God.
YIELDING our hearts is the secret place of transformation.
A yielded heart is dangerous to the enemy.
A yielded heart is a powerful force that destroys the works of darkness.
And when we finally stop enslaving ourselves to people, religion, and all the Lesser Loves of our Heart (as John Eldredge describes them)—it is then that we can follow Jesus whole-heartedly into the fullness of our destiny. It is then that we become world changers.
We are meant to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength FIRST.
THEN we love others.
When God has top position in our hearts—EVERYTHING else flows smoother and finds its proper positioning in our lives.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23).
From glory to glory in Him,