The Real American Idols
It’s Finale Week!! Tonight they sing for it all! Will it be Crystal or Lee?Idol mania reigns.Idol: an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed; an image of a deity other than God; any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration or devotionAmerican Idol: a reality television competition to find new solo singing talent. It is the most successful reality show, producing real talent that has gone on to musical fame. During Idol season chatter about the show is everywhere: Facebook, entertainment news, Fox News, blogs. The show itself is an idol.Idol as defined by God: anything that is higher in our affections than God; whatever we think we must have to be happy; something that occupies the throne of our lives.Are you an idolator? Often, I am.What are some American idols? (Other nations will have similar and different ones.) The big three in the U.S. are probably money, intelligence/talent and beauty. A person who has all of these has it made—he or she will surely be successful and happy.We idolize lots of other things: power, things, toys (for all ages), fitness, thinness, success, leisure, adventure, etc.I have some of my own that occasionally or often become highest in my affections. One would be independence. I’m not fond of someone else controlling my life, squeezing me in, usurping my time. I often prefer to “do it myself.”Another is the people I love. When my husband and I were dating—for 5 years—I was sure he would bring me the happiness I wanted–he was definitely an idol. Sometimes I am fearful that some danger, illness or even death will befall my children–they can become highest in my affections. And I worked hard to try to make sure my children wouldn’t ruin their lives with wrong choices–their success is so important to me.A third potential idol for me—encompassing most all my idols—is my own way. My life has been a journey of learning to choose God’s always better way over what I think I must have/do.Are these things wrong? Mostly not. Until they become idols—gods in our lives.God spoke clearly: You shall have no other gods before me. Throughout Scripture He reminds us that His love is unconditional, everlasting, full of mercy and beyond our comprehension. He assures us that He will provide for our every need, that He has a just right plan for each of us and that His grace is far more than enough. Why would we choose an idol over Him?So when I find that I am worshiping an idol, when I think I must have something or someone, when my life is controlled by my desires, I have discovered a simple practice that puts all these things in the right order.In my mind, I take the thing or person that is occupying the throne of my heart, lift it off, and deliberately put it on the altar as an offering to God. Then come peace and freedom.Until I do it again. But God is so full of grace that He always receives my offering, over and over if necessary.