Growing up, I understood idols to be gold cows and silver coins and men lusting after women who were not their wives. I didn't own any cows (of any color) or silver, and men were just rude, I thought. So, idols weren't a problem for me.
Thirty-plus years later, I get it. I still don't have any cows or silver, and I still believe that, yes, men can be rude. So can women, but that's another post.
But, my, oh my, how God reveals the heart...if we ask Him to.
Years ago, a pastor defined an idol as whatever we can't live without. Because, the only thing that should have such a hold on us is God.
Under that definition, things look a bit different, don't they?
This pastor was not saying we can't have things in life we enjoy, cherish, and love - like hobbies, people, and chocolate. Life is a gift, and we are meant to celebrate it while we're here.
But, we have to be careful that whatever we're devoted to does not rise above our honoring of and devotion to God, who gave us life itself. Because, in the end, everything but God will turn to dust. Even people. God is the constant. The only eternal element.
That Gucci bag? It's temporary.
Those eight pairs of heels? Temporary.
Supple skin, perky breasts, and silky hair? (Yes, we can be our own god.) Temporary. (How well I know this.)
Fettuccine Alfredo, homemade bread, good wine, Nutella? After spending a few decades on your hips....temporary.
My house. My PT Cruiser. The big screen TV. The NFL. The NBA. The Housewives of Wherever. Even (sigh) my LOST DVDs. All temporary. Future dust.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, even (gasp) blogs - in the end, they won't matter. We won't care.
This pastor offered two questions that generally reveal our idols.
1. What do we spend our time on?
2. What do we spend our money on?
Those are the things we value. If we can't live without them.....well.
Something to ponder.
I know what my idols are, and I swat at them daily. They're persistent little buggers. They are highly ingrained desires that are not in themselves bad, I just spend too much time with them. (Beware: on the surface, idols always look attractive and harmless.)
So, for all us idol worshipers, here's my prayer:
Dear Lord, help me to remember that only You and your love for me can ultimately satisfy my longing, human heart. The glitter/vices of this world are deceptive and fleeting. Help me be grateful for all that You provide, but to keep in the forefront of my mind to use my resources wisely. Help me to keep things in perspective. Help me to invest in things of eternal value. Help me to put nothing before my relationship with You. And, let no one bring home any M&Ms this week.