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Personal idols

Thinking about quizzes earlier brings to mind something I wanted to share. At staff meeting Wednesday we considered an exercise from Gospel Transformation on idolatry; specifically, how we set ourselves up as idols. Here it is, but it's not for the faint of heart—there was no way for me to finish without recognizing that Jesus is my only hope. Come to think of it, that's a good way to keep my heart from being faint.

Not only do we trust other things to bring us blessings, we also trust ourselves. In other words, we place ourselves on the throne, and set ourselves up as false gods. What are some of your chief idols?

Read through the list below. After you’ve finished, re-read the statements and check the ones that made you think: “That’s me!” What desires (even good ones) rule your life?


<input ... >People must listen to me. (They must give me their undivided attention. They must not look away when I speak to them.)
<input ... >I control my world. (Things must be ordered. Things must not break down or mess up. People must not mess around with me or catch me off guard.)
<input ... >I have the right to judge others. (Especially external, because I cannot see into the heart. I judge their shortcomings and sin. I compare myself favorably with them.)
<input ... >I speak and it is done (Gen 1:1–31). (If things are not accomplished immediately, I am angry of defeated. My desire to change things rules me.)
<input ... >People must respect/honor me. (Including other drivers on the road. People must not bump into me on the street. They must knock before coming into my office.)
<input ... >People must obey me (especially my children.)
<input ... >I have to be self-righteous. (Thus I defend, attack, condemn, adjust the record, destroy others records, excuse, build good karma, blame.)
<input ... >I glorify myself. (I am all-knowing, all-wise. I look down on others’ mistakes; my opinions are all-wise and correct.)
<input ... >I do whatever pleases me. (TV, food, sex, shopping, entertainment, videos, computer games, vacations.)
<input ... >I have to look holy (especially pastors). (I have to appear perfect. I am Dr. Jekyll at church, but Mr. Hyde appears at home.)
<input ... >I am accountable to no one. (If you call me to account I get mad or raid the fridge.)
<input ... >I must be healthy. (I have a right to good health.)
<input ... >I must be independent. (I must not depend on anyone.)
<input ... >People must love me. (I want to be loved by….)
<input ... >People must serve me. (They must meet my “need.”)
<input ... >People must not look at me. (“He ‘dissed’ me so he had to die” is an actual statement from a criminal in New York City who had just shot someone.)
<input ... >Life revolves around me. (I must be the center of my family life, my job, my church.)
<input ... >I must make it to the top. ( I must win—job, sports, computer games. I aim for the top and tread over anyone to get there.)
<input ... >I get vengeance. (I don’t get mad, I get even.)
<input ... >I must save…(myself, my husband, wife, children, friends) from their sinful behavior, etc. I must bring peace…( I never argue. I bring good tidings.)
<input ... >I make my own laws. (As the law of God is an expression of God’s character, so my laws are an expression of my idolatry.) Some of these laws include:
<input ... >The toothpaste tube must be squeezed from the bottom. The soap must not be broken in two. (I control my world.)
<input ... >I read the newspaper first. (People must honor me.)
<input ... >The house has to be tidy. The food must be good. (People must serve me. People must compliment me.)
<input ... >When I talk to people, they must give me their undivided attention. (People must respect me.)
<input ... >The toilet paper must come over the top, so it does not rub against the wall and get dirty. (I demand cleanliness.)
<input ... >The toilet paper must come from underneath, so it uses less toilet paper. (I demand thriftiness.)
<input ... >The family must be ready on time. (I demand respect. I would hate for people to see me late.)
Considering the list above, what desires (even good ones) rule your life?

Saint Augustine summarized one of the great themes of Scripture, and thus all of life, when he said: "You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in you." God made us to be dependent on him for all we need. As creatures, we are made for relationship. We are made for worship. If we are not turning to God in worship, we are turning to something else. If we do not bond with God through the gospel, then we will bond to something else—something that promises to do for us what only the gospel can do. We hold to idols so tightly, and return to them so quickly, because they appear to do the same thing for us that the gospel does. They become part of us in the same way that our heavenly Father should be part of us. Thus, when we repent of an idol, it feels as if we have to shed our skin.

Comments

Where's the "check all" button? May as well save myself some time... (-;
I think that's what I said on Wednesday!
There's not submit button!!! I wanted to submit!!!!
Wanting to submit is the first step.
I knew you were going to say that. I'm working on a serious response to you now in another window... so... SHH!
<input ... >I must not be interrupted by banzai's smart-assed comments while I am writing something serious.
that's not fun if you can't submit your answers and pool them with others!
Submit to God!
Seriously though, none of these things were shockers... I mean, not worded THAT way. My problem is recognizing them when they're NOT so cut and dry. You know?
I think I understand, but I was more than convicted enough by this list. It hit me hard.
I already KNEW that I sucked. I just need more specific areas to deal with. Generalities don't help me much.
Wow, I totally had a different response. Every time I look for specific areas to deal with, I immediately land back on the list because I start trying to clean up my life on my terms under my steam.
And this may be the very problem I have and I'm too dumb to see it.

I'm like a kid... I want specific boundaries. But everytime I think I've found one, another person tells me that I'm being legalistic. So I can't decide what's what half the time. Does that have anything to do with this post? Or did I just change topics?

Also, I have a question for you that will require Yahoo Messenger time. So let me know when you have about 20 minutes.
And just because I hate to look ignored... I have to add here that you, indeed, messaged me. ;)
I think that goes under the Needs To Be Loved idol? :D
Totally.
The saddest thing is that when I behave like that, I damn well know it's wrong but it doesn't stop me. I've realised that it's taken actual illness as the only way God can deal with my issues of independence and self-sufficiency, for instance. That's how deep-rooted it is. Sad, eh?
I didn't feel that I could really check any of those, but I could easily come up with a list of my own.
I would have answered far more if it said "I desire" rather than "I demand" or "others must," etc. because I rarely demand but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like it that way.

My only question is...

Where do you keep all these tons of bricks in your small apartment before you drop them on us? :o]

Really, though, thanks for sharing. Idols must be torn down.
amen...
and where is the oh look i didnt check any so i must be an amazing christian button? ha! that thought went through my head about two seconds before my HS smacked the side of my head!
Hey, I'm going to take you off of my friends list, I just feel like we annoy each other more than lift each other up in kindness. Your comment this morning hurt my feelings. And I know I've probably hurt your feelings on many occasions with my smart ass comments. I'm just ready to be done. I wish you well with life,ect.

Kara
I'm sorry. I'd only intended to be teasing with that comment, and I feel badly that your feelings were hurt. I can respect whatever decision you make, but I wanted you to know I am sorry.
I know I change my mind all the freaking time..but God has really been working in me and...

I don't know.

I forgive you.

I'll still read your journal from time to time if you let me, but I just feel like I should seperate myself from you.

Actually I'm going to trim down my list quite a bit.
That's always up to you. Feel free to read whenever you like. Thanks for forgiving me.