He hunched on the corner of a desk. All wooden, his face curved into a triangle with two flat, silver eyes.
"That’s a bush demon—an idol," my grandma said.
"Why do we own that?" my mom asked.
"Not sure. Something someone gave your grandfather when we lived in Africa."
I remember staring at the piece of wood, wondering. I could easily imagine people fearing him—his eyes were certainly creepy. But worship? Would someone really pray to such a thing? He was barely the height of a pencil.
I remember that as my first brush with an idol. But all along I’d had my own set of idols I held close, caressed, and whose grip on my heart I kept alive and well. My idols—although invisible—were many and strong. And they made their own temple inside of me.
You probably know what some of your idols are. The achievement of a dream. Praise from people you respect. Beauty. Popularity. That one specific boy, or maybe just boys in general. Finally becoming that person you wish you already were. Whatever it is, if you can’t have peace or joy without that thing, it is probably an idol.
We keep idols with us all the time. How do we fight them? How do we kick them out of the temple that is our soul?
The answer is fairly straightforward. Don’t believe in their power.
We chase after respect/beauty/popularity/success/other gods because we believe, in our core, that they have the power to give us what we need. If your idol is a guy, (whether you admit it or not) secretly you believe that if he loved you or just gave you more attention, you’d never have to be alone. You’d be happy. All your wildest dreams would come true—or something like that.
The simple answer to getting rid of idols? The truth must sink into all of us. We must actually believe what we’ve read is true: The Lord is our portion. The only promise we’ve been given about this life is that we are God’s own.
The author of Lamentations got it right:
My soul … is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him" (Lam. 3:20–24).
Want the long answer to this question? The details? That’ll be in part two of this post tomorrow.
What do you think? Do you struggle with idols that aren’t listed here? How have you fought them in the past?