I’ve been thinking, too, about how guilty I remain of dwelling on temporal things, after all these years of seeking and worshiping the living God. I still spend more time and energy on my garden than the average bear; more idle hours on old books and old movies; more money on special foods, toys and veterinary care to keep our pets happy and healthy. And that’s just a start; it seems that every day, I find new ways of putting other things before my Savior.
How about you? Do you find yourself idolizing anything (or anyone) by ardently:
- Seeking it, in order to know it
- Pursuing it, in a drive to possess it
- Thinking of it extensively and perhaps exclusively
- Fearing, and protecting against, its loss
- Spending a ton of money on it
- Talking about it to anyone who’ll listen
- Devoting excessive amounts of time to it
Of course, some of these things are inescapable. We have to earn some money, to care for our families, to keep our homes from becoming eyesores, even to take decent care of our bodies -- which are, after all, the temple of the Holy Spirit. And surely, as our Good Shepherd, the Lord wants us to have life, “and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10); He invented pleasure, and gave us lots to enjoy in this life.
But for each of us, there are lines that we can cross into idolatry. We’d best be on the lookout for it in our own hearts, guard against it prayerfully as we meditate over scripture, and be prepared to flee from it, as the apostle Paul advises in 1 Corinthians 10.
Fortunately, as Paul also tells us in this chapter, resisting idolatry is far from impossible for the child of God. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man,” he wrote. “But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”