I began worshiping idols before I could even read. The graven images of toys in the Sears Christmas catalog held me captive. Those toys promised such joy. Gradually toys gave way to a mirror.
During my teens I worshipped two idols simultaneously. And make no mistake; those two idols demanded great sacrifices.
The Appearance Idol held up a warped mirror reflecting a false image of myself. I’d look away feeling awkward and unworthy. The sacrifice of food was offered, sometimes in combination with copious exercise. Of course I made the required sacrifice of money for what I hoped were stylish enough clothes. The promise of happiness awaited me with just the right look.
Needing encouragement, I bowed down to the Approval Idol. I was given a long list of demands and was forced to compare myself to others. The promise of acceptance seemed just out of my grip.
I finally took a mental sledgehammer and shattered those worthless idols upon their altar. But an empty altar is a lonely place and I soon found a replacement---the Achievement Idol. This idol required competition.
I was competitive, so this didn’t feel like a sacrifice. But the cost was high. The Achievement Idol points to other’s success while sneering at yours. Oh, the promise of people seeing my accomplishments was such an ugly motivator. I worshipped success more than caring about those in my life.
Elevating myself above others allowed me to worship the Power Idol. Soon I was controlling everything I could. The promise that power can build more power was exciting. I didn't realize that as power builds within, it seeps out into other areas of control. Next came the Money Idol. I managed how all the dollars were spent. Security could be found in a bank account. I believed the promise that enough money would bring happiness.
Suddenly I found myself much older and not as wise as I thought. Worshipping the Religion Idol might bring wisdom. First, I tried to earn God’s approval. I did all the right things but for all the wrong reasons. I didn’t understand that God wanted me to spend time with Him, not do all these things for him.
Idols never helped me feel better about myself and had faked me out with promises they never kept.
Here's the bad news: idols are everywhere and being older hasn’t made resisting them much easier. Anything that takes first place in my life becomes my new idol. Recent idol? My computer and its distractions. There’s a reason that God's first commandment dealt with idols. He knew how we'd chase after the wrong things.
Keeping God #1 isn't easy, so before I turn on my computer, I spend time in the Bible. I've found that when I start my day with Him it helps put everything else in the right place. And that's the best place to be as I begin a New Year.
1 John 5:21 "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols."