1 John 5: 21
Idol Worshiping, what does this mean to you? Do you picture gold dipped live stock? Perhaps the adoration of an historical figure? Or maybe we are talking about my closet obsession with Clay Akin. Phew...I feel so much better to get that out in the open.
Whatever your individual minds happens to conjure up, many of us will associate the worshiping of idols as the absolute fixation or devotion of a person or thing. Back in the day it might have been 42k heifer, and today it could be Mick Jagger, but the concept is still the same. In simple terms, an idol is anything that a person can worship, obsess, or place as the most important thing in their life.
In today's society it is easy to spot specific forms of idol worship. The woman so obsessed with her physical form that she spends all of her time reading articles on how to achieve the perfect beach body and then booking the liposuction when the exercise doesn't work. Or there is the man who worships power and money so much that he neglects everything else in his life including the people who love him until one day he comes home late from the office (again) to find an empty house and a goodbye note on the counter. These are just a couple examples of the seemingly endless parade of idol worships that we can easily observe all around us.
This, however, is not the kind of idol worship of which I would like to discuss today. No, I would like to talk for a moment about the idolic practice of worshiping thoughts. "Idol Thoughts", if you will. But is this even possible? Can a person worship a thought like they would a golden cow? I believe they can, or at least, I have come to see that I have been doing this very thing for the better part of my life.
Ponder for a moment, the thing or things that your mind seems to dwell upon the most. Do you worry about money? Do you find yourself replaying scenes from happier days over and over again? Maybe you spend you thoughts on dreams about marriage, or even divorce. Whatever thought you pursue becomes like the soundtrack to your life, and even when you aren't aware of it, it is playing in the background of your mind, coloring the canvas of your reality.
It's very easy to absolve ourselves because we are going through the motions of an idol free life. We may have balance and temperance in action, but gross and intense devotion to our thoughts. I have always liked the analogy if the duck on the lake; on the surface he looks cool and calm as he glides effortlessly across the water, but lurking just beneath the surface those little legs are a kickin' like crazy! This is how I would describe myself anyway, maybe you see yourself differently.
But if you find yourself resonating with anything I have said thus far, I would invite you to examine the thoughts in your own life that may have, inadvertently, become a type of idol; something that you cherish above all things. What are your favorite thoughts? What are your most prized Idol Thoughts? And can you picture a life free of them?
In my life I have found that just when I banish one, another comes and takes it place. If I am not constantly fixated on thoughts of my imperfect body, then I can always worship the fear of dying alone and virginal for a time. Meanwhile, the years pass, and life goes on, but I remain in my mind.
I do not believe that I am alone in this state of being. I believe that we all live in our minds, to whatever extent. Some of us have summer homes there, but many of us have taken up a permanent residence. We could spend a whole an entire blog discussing how and why we find ourselves in this state, but ultimately, if one wishes to check out of Ye ol' Mind Motel, then the first step is simply to acknowledge our occupancy.
There is a big bright beautiful world out there my friends, and life is too short to spend in the trappings of our own minds, and in the pursuit of false idols.
I love you Clay.