What's Your Idol?

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. 

Starbucks?  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.



betty said...

I so get this; I have my own idols, in fact I have written them down a lot in my prayer journal and in the Bible. It is a struggle and you are right, they don't have to be made of silver, gold or wood to still be an idol; great thoughts you shared!


Creations By Cindy said...

What a great post today. Yes, I think it would be safe to say that we all struggle with idols in our lives. I know recently the Lord showed me something that I had considered to be a good thing that had actually become an idol for me as I was putting it before I did Him! Thanks for the post today. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

netablogs said...

Thanks for this. I'm going to ponder that a bit.. Idols aren't always as easy to spot as we think they are. The thing about idols is that they never really satisfy the way we hope they will (well, except for the M&M's maybe! ;)

Melanie said...

Amen. Great post. I like that you wrote it in such a way as to make your reader think more than to give answers that were easy to address. Idols are tricky, and my first response was that my idols are my home and my family because they are where all my time and money go. It makes me think that I do need to dedicate more time and money to our church. I always tell myself it's enough, but maybe there is more I can do or in a better way. In church last week we talked about how the walk to and with God is a downhill battle rather than uphill because you have to go down to really get to him and be raised up. It just reminded me of all the plans I have for the future and things I want to do in His name, but that are an indefinite time away.

Judy said...

Man, do I love this post! How true it is - - so many (most) things we adore and covet are so temporary and so "who cares" at the end of our lives. When the things we should be adoring and coveting are right in front of our eyes - - our relationships with our family members and our relationship with God and Jesus Christ! THAT'S what matters! Thanks so much for the reminder!!

Elizabeth said...

You did such a great job placing the idea of idols into a modern, relevant context. It's frightening to step back and see how many idols I have.

renae said...

TV i think is a big Idol in our society today. But, perhaps it is getting taken over by the internet. I think blogging is different, because it is personal and we choose to help or hinder with it. make sense? loved reading this today, thank you!!!!!!!!!

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I think I must be strange I don't have idols in fact I don't think I ever had and reading this I have had a long thing about who or what idols I might have but honestly I can't think of a single one so I must be strange..............I don't know what this says about me

Anonymous said...

Wow, I needed to read this. So well written and right on point! I really feel a strong conviction brewing inside of me in regard to idols, and I know it will be a challenge, but I am ready for battle.
Thank you :)

Jerralea said...

What an awesome word, Mare! (Although I am surprised to hear that in the end blogs won't matter!)

I totally agree with everything you've said, and I especially love the prayer at the end of your post. You expressed what I pray for as well. Well... I'm not praying that no one brings home M&Ms ... guess I have a ways to go.

Lynn Proctor said...

wonderful reminder and such an excellent way of putting it :)

Marie said...

I LOVE this post! I really love how you've written this very much needed reminder. :) I will be thinking about this all day and will pass it on to family. :)

Falen said...

Reading this is quite the self-check! Woah! I love how you said you "swat" them. Next time I feel my self placing something before God, I'm gonna bust out the spiritual swatter. :) Great post, Mare!

Kelly said...

Oh thank you for linking up! This is wonderful food for thought!!!

Unknown said...

I couldn't agree more. Great topic. I've been thinking about these things myself a lot lately...planning a post about it next week. Things I think I can't live without. LOVE THIS.

Elaine L. Bridge said...

Terrific post, and you wrote about it so well!!! Sad about Starbucks, though, lol! and if blogs aren't going to last, I'm going to enjoy yours every minute that I can! Thanks for sharing!

Tina said...

This is exactly what I needed to hear today. It's so clear to me what my idols are now, and I will admit it. Blogging. I'm currently wrestling with whether I should continue to teach Precepts at my church, but was thinking of how it would cut into my blogging/writing/visiting time and could I really do it all. Of course I can't. But duh, which is the lasting one? I have my answer now. It's THE ONE. If you're in the Denver area, you're welcome to join us Thursday mornings at 9. Now to pick a study and order books.
Thanks, Mare.
Tina @ Life is Good

Jen said...

Beautifully written words to ponder today. Thank you for dropping by my online corner. I'm delighted to discover your site and the community you have here.