November 3, 2010
We Are Idol Factories
Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor
Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Habakkuk 2:18,NIV
"We are idol factories."
One of the pastors at my church said this in his sermon last Sunday, and I wrote it down and underlined it. I immediately took this statement to heart, because I know that I am truly gifted at making idols. It's a skill that required no college degree or specialized training.
It just comes naturally to me, placing other things, people, ideas or goals ahead of God in my life. In fact, I can make an idol out of something probably faster than you can switch on your 73-inch, flat-panel, plasma HDTV with surround sound. Actually maybe even faster, you see, because I've improved over time.
I heard this "idol factory" illustration just a day after having breakfast with a dear friend who I had not seen in several years. As we were sharing about our lives and what God was teaching us, she told me that she had gotten rid of her cable television. "Why is that?" I asked. "Because I spent too much time watching The Food Network. And before I knew it, it was time to pick up the kids from school," she admitted.
At first, I chuckled a little. It seemed pretty harmless. What's a wasted day or two spent watching The Food Network, and how harmful really could that channel ever be?
Without cable, my friend went on to say that she's now more productive during the day as a stay-at-home mom. She's reading more. She's getting back to the writing she's been wanting to work on, and she's focusing more on what matters to her family and how she can best serve them and their needs as a wife and a mother. Basically, she's gotten her priorities back in order.
Whoa. All of that from not watching a channel that really does have some good and helpful information that's worth your time. But, it just goes to show that that is how easy it is for us to make idols out of anything in our lives.
Don't laugh or discount this notion, because we all do it. Your weakness or idol may not be The Food Network. But just insert whatever or whomever it is that occupies your thoughts and your time. What or who is that you could spend hours focused on and not realize that the time has flown by? What do you think about the most when you're away from it? What controls your schedule? Can you look back and say you are glad that you spent your time or expended your efforts in this manner? Is any of this honoring to the Lord?
I bet you can come up with a list pretty quickly, can't you? I sure can. And I'm ashamed to see what occupies my thoughts and my time (and how much of it is wasted). I'm making idols left and right in my life, and it's time to have a fire sale. Get rid of the clutter that doesn't amount to anything of value for the Kingdom, and get back to what should be the sole focus of my worship: God.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks us this: "What is the chief end of man?" And the answer is: "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever."
If I sifted each of my priorities through this question-and-answer filter, what would my life look like? Of what idols on the assembly line would I need to cease production first?
As the foreman of my life, the Lord issues a pink slip to me each and every day. Am I surrendering to his authority? He doesn't want me to keep the idol factory in business any longer in my heart. And I know that only he can help me shut it down and focus solely on worshipping him.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
We all have prominent idols in our lives, and they're usually the ones we look to get rid of first. But what about the more hidden idols—ones we are blinded to in our lives? They are just as destructive as those that are obvious. Ask the Lord to reveal your idol factory's entire inventory, so that you can make changes in your life starting today.
Romans 11:36, NIV
Psalm 144:15, NIV