“Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, ‘If you are really serious about wanting to return to the LORD, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Determine to obey on the LORD; then He will rescue you from the Philistines.'” Samuel 7:3
Idols, a word that makes me cringe. I cringe because I look at what “drives” me, what I have inflated to function as a god and what I have become enslaved to…all very frightening and humbling thoughts.
David Powlison asks us to go through a painful process of self-examination when it comes to idols, I challenge each of you who read this today to do as I did and ask these questions. He suggests that to be free from idols, we must first detect them and then destroy them.
- What do you organize your life around? Work. A relationship. Children. These are described as near idols that are used to secure a far idol.
- What do you want, crave or wish for? What do you obsess over? What preoccupies you? What do you find your mind instinctively drifting towards? What fills your conversations?
- What are you willing to sacrifice an inordinate amount to attain?
- What do you fear losing? What if you lost it would make you lose your desire to live because all meaning in life would be sucked out? All desire to move forward would be lost?
- What do you rejoice over? What, present or hoped for, brings you or would bring you greatest peasure, delight? What must you have?
- What would bring you the greatest pain?
- What is your worst nightmare?
- What makes you angry or frustrated? These are usually the things that are standing in the way of us having our far idol.
- What causes you anxiety or great stress?
- How do you define success or failure, or weigh significance or insignificance?
- Where do you go for comfort, refuge, safety? How often have I turned to shopping to “feel better”?
- Who, real or imagined, can make your world better, safer, more satisfying?
- Whom must you please? From whom do you desire approval and fear rejection?
- How do you define yourself? Is it by the clothes you wear, the status of your job, the home you live in…get the picture?
As I read through those questions, idols surfaced…some I was aware of, some I never thought of as an idol. The glaring fact was that those idols were truly the root of all of my sin, they were the masters that offered me false promises and asked for unreasonable demands on my life. They were becoming rivals of the true God…in fact, I am no better than my ancient ancestors who worshipped gold calves.
Satan orchestrates our idol worship because he knows that if we focus our attention on them then peace leaves us and we live with a “restless heart”. The beauty of God’s grace is that through acknowledgment and His power we can tear down our idols. It requires a daily commitment to God and to make Christ our greatest treasure and the object of our deepest trust. Our identity as daughters comes from God, in Him alone we have significance and security!