Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Turn Your Idols into Dust

Jesus often spoke in parables to teach his followers truths about the way God sees us and how we should live. He also revealed visions and dreams to strong believers in order to warn or alert them.

In the same way, God sometimes illustrates a point to me about His ways or my spiritual state based on a personal experience. Sitting in church this past Sunday, I felt the Holy Spirit quicken a recent memory of my visit to a museum where I encountered a gold-plated statue honoring the Greek goddess Athena. This moment became etched in my mind as God began to set the scene for what would be a powerful teaching lesson directly from His heart.

Walking into the temple hall, I gazed at the altar. As I inched closer, I began to recognize the fierce look of the illuminated statue. Towering over me was a gold-encased figure that commanded my attention. Her shine was brilliant and her detail had to have been carved with careful hands. This golden woman brought such a terrible feeling upon me. I sensed myself honoring this idol with my silent respect. Standing before it, I was arrested, mesmerized by its enormity and grandeur. I was ignorant of the man who stood behind me. With a whisper, he seized my soul. It was Christ himself. With assurance in His eyes, He offered mercy. In tandem, we reached out our hands to the golden idol, turning it to dust.

Immediately, I felt this overwhelming peace deep within me. As I reviewed these images, I realized that all too often we allow “idols” to replace God in our hearts. Instead of honoring the Lord with our energy, our desires, and our time, we invest them in worthless dreams and fleeting pleasures. Our culture also has created idols that many committed Christians glorify. Even the “American Dream” becomes a dangerous ideal when it consumes our lives. We are hounded by the desire to gain wealth so that we may find true fulfillment. Men and women alike give themselves to their careers to achieve “power” in the marketplace. Even beyond these seemingly legitimate ideals are the secret sins we feed with our pride – namely greed, gluttony, lust, and hatred. We build these idols because we find comfort in our greed, security in our possessions, and even power as we judge each other.

Obeying the commandments God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai is central to our faith. His first two commands speak directly to our tendency as flawed people to turn away from our Savior.

You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected — even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those[a] who love me and obey my commands. (Exodus 20:3-6, NLT)

God is jealous for our affection. He doesn’t want half of your heart, but all of you.

Our sins and false senses of security bring us no relief. As Habakkuk 2:18 states, idols are lifeless statues. These gods are made by our hands and can do nothing for us (Psalm 115:4-7). They only distract from the one True God.

In the vision, God in the flesh was quick to forgive my idolatry. His mercy wiped away the mistakes I was making even in that moment.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NIV)

Even in the midst of our darkness, Christ reaches out His hand of forgiveness. Grab hold of His grace and allow Him to turn the gods you’ve worshipped into ashes on the floor.

Copyright © Hannah Goodwyn 2007. Used with permission.

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