In the Shadow of My Idols

Do you see my idols?

I do not worship the pagan gods of old with their gold overlays and silver adornments.

Nothing so ridiculous as that.

Instead, my idols come neatly-wrapped in culturally-appropriate packages. Hard to recognize, yet insidious all the same.

Emotions, Productivity and Validation boast well-used altars which have been dismantled and rebuilt, dismantled and rebuilt, dismantled and rebuilt. Often I fear I no longer know where they end and I begin.

I know the commandment. And I’ve tried to destroy these idols, tried to grind them into dust as Moses did. But my strength is not enough.

No hope, no joy, exists in worshipping them. My idols throw chains of bondage over my soul. Yet like an old habit or addiction, the compulsion to live in the shadow of these altars runs deep in my fleshly heart.

But oh, how I long for full freedom. How I long to forget these idols and worship God alone for all the days of my life.

My Lord knows my idols. It was He who revealed them to my once-blind eyes.

He has removed these idols time and time again. Yet though they fall at His hand, they return at my own–perhaps smaller, diminished–but I rebuild them nonetheless.

Do I truly want them to be destroyed, I wonder?

For there is a measure of control in worshipping my feelings, my accomplishments and the opinions of others. Bowing to these idols is simpler than freeing myself from their deep-seated placement in my heart.

Perhaps that is the true issue at hand: I struggle to know myself apart from these idols.

For so long they have been a part of my life–a part of who I am–that I fear I will not survive if they are fully destroyed. Who am I without these idols? Without them to drive me? Without their habits and hangups?

I know who God says I am. Yet I struggle to accept it. Even two decades into my faith, I cannot grasp that God pursued me, lived for me, died for me and was resurrected for me. I cannot grasp the infinite mystery of Christ’s life being my justification.

Even today, the gift seems too good to be true. There must be more to do, more to be, more to earn. He must need me to try to be acceptable to Him.

Oh, misguided heart that believes it could ever heal itself. Oh, misguided soul that believes it could ever be worthy. Oh, false piety that denies the gift of Christ’s justification.

What must I do to believe in fullness, my Lord? Yet I am poor and needy, may the Lord think of me.

May He rip down my idols and destroy the altars once more. And may I yield to Him in fullness once more.

I will have no other idols.

Each day I will choose to have no other idols.



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