Let’s talk about idols. Specifically, your idols.
Are all idols blatant, out in the open, for all to see? That’s rhetorical; you know the answer already: no. In fact, I’m guessing that you may have just thought of an idol that you have that’s not in the open; a closet idol. Here’s the truth: we all hide idols. Why do we do this? I think the main reason for this is that we are so filled with pride that we cannot submit ourselves to the embarrassment of our secret idols being revealed. I mean, do we really want people around us to know our weaknesses, sins, and idols? You may be thinking, “My idols are none of their business.” We say things like this because deep-down, we all fear vulnerability. We fear being subject to others reactions, opinions, and possible judgments of our sins. Read the story below and see if (cultural differences ignored) you see a connection between that and your life.
“There once was a young, but strong squire, who went out on a long walk. On this walk, he came upon a family (or a mother and her two daughters, rather) who was being bothered by one of the gruff, bullying merchants which commonly traversed the forest in which the young squire walked. The squire, being a brave, courageous young man, rushed the merchant, startling the bully and scaring him off. The family was exceedingly grateful for the services rendered to them by the squire. They thanked him, and while the poor woman had not much to offer in return, she gave the young man a round object, wrapped up in a blanket. Not wishing to be rude, the young squire did not open the gift until he was back on the road through the forest.
“The young man pulled back the cloth and started in amazement and terror. It was a dragon’s egg. He knew the terrible curse that followed all who hatched a dragon’s egg and instantly prepared to cast the object from his sight. However, something stayed his hand. It began as fascination but morphed into relentless curiosity. He couldn’t destroy it, despite how dangerous it was, merely because of the joy that it brought him. Suddenly, having power and being important appealed to him. Looking around nervously, he concealed the egg in the cloth and snuck into his quarters in the castle. Every day, he woke up and ran to the egg, swearing to destroy it. Some days, he even picked up the egg, held it out the window, and nearly let go. Yet his love for the bright, beautiful egg had grown too strong. Days turned to weeks and weeks to months until one day, the egg hatched.
“The young squire was terrified and thrilled all at the same time. The small creature was barely strong enough to fly, and could still be easily destroyed, but now that it had hatched, the squire felt an even stronger attachment to the creature. The squire began bending to the dragon’s every will. The poor, tired-out squire had to go to greater lengths to conceal the dragon, yet still strove to feed the beast. Months gave rise to years, and the ferocious animal grew as the once-strong squire weakened, half-starved. His beloved creature had consumed the young man’s existence. He loathed and loved the creature with all his heart, and he couldn’t free himself from the beast’s hold.”
Okay, see the connections? Maybe your face turned red or your heart began to beat fast as you read because maybe that’s you. You’re the one hiding the “beast” that is consuming you. You see, if our young squire had thrown the egg when he first saw it or even before it had hatched, he would’ve not had that problem. I once heard a preacher say that “There is a split second before you sin where you have a way out.” Technically, there is always, at all times, a way out, but we recognize our sin as what it is for just that split second, and the Holy Spirit says “Hey, this isn’t a good idea at all.” What do we do in that split second? Well, honestly we tend to choose ourselves instead of choosing God. In essence, that is what sin is; disobeying God’s clear commands so that we can have temporary pleasure.
However, most of us are long past that stage. Perhaps our dragon is just recently hatched, or perhaps it is well along in its stages of development. I assume for many of us, the dragon is massive, looming above, casting its ugly shadow all over our lives. Our closets are growing too small to contain our massive, ugly sin. Look around you. Can’t you see that your closet idol is eating you up? It’s destroying your health, relationships, job, faith, and more! If you’ve made it this far through the article, you know exactly what I’m talking about and what needs to be changed.
So is it hopeless? Is there no way that we can overcome the beasts that we’ve concealed as it they have developed? I’m not going to be gentle about this because that would make me have to lie. The further along that your dragon has grown, the more painful that it is. Let me be very real with you: disposing of your dragon is going to feel like you are having your heart literally torn from your chest. However, it is the only way that you can be healed.
For starters, you need to honestly, Honestly, HONESTLY turn from your sin. You need to get down on your hands and knees and cry out to God to save you from this oppressive sin. No amount of sheer willpower will rescue you from where you are with your closet dragon. The second thing that you need to do is drag the dragon from the closet. Drag it out in the open, where everyone can see. This hurts and is one of the most difficult parts of defeating the dragon because it’s all good when you’re admitting your sin to God; He already knows all of your sins. However, it’s a more difficult thing to confess it to your family and friends. I’m not saying to parade around displaying your sin, but I am saying that you need to turn to those who love you and will keep you accountable in the future. Now, here comes the final step: you need to shoot it. This basically means taking a drastic step AWAY from the idol and TOWARD God.
This has been a long article, I know, but I hope and pray that it has caused you to (at the very least) start thinking about the idols in your life that need to be dragged out and shot. I have to say that I speak from personal experience in this… Honestly, I wish that I had followed these things to bring my idol to light and be rescued from it sooner. What’s done is done, and I know that I have a super-awesome God who forgives me of my sins and enables me to turn from them. However, please don’t pass up this chance to completely change your life. We cannot serve our own selfish desires AND God. Make your choice, because you can’t sit on the fence in this battle.