“The human heart is a factory of idols...Everyone of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.” (John Calvin)
[Note: those not familiar with the topic of idolatry might want to check out a sermon by C.J. Mahaney entitled “The Idol Factory." The quotes in the introduction and first section are excellent in explaining the importance of recognizing and destroying idolatry in one’s life, and it will better aid the reader in identifying with what I say in this post.]
The service last Sunday morning included a timely message for me. The theme of the message, taken from Proverbs 18:10-11, was trusting God (what I’ve been studying for a while now) and the conclusion dealt specifically with idolatry. In the recent past, the Lord had been dealing with me on some idols in my heart that were extremely dangerous to the welfare of my soul. By God’s grace, I had been able to recognize my idolatry—where before I hadn’t even been aware that it was sin—and had (I thought) put it to death (or at least left it maimed and dying on the ground). As the sermon this Sunday neared the end, I realized more clearly: yes, these idols were still present; yes, the problem was worse than I originally imagined. The enormity of my sin hit me with the force of a freight train smashing a stray deer to bits. (Ugh. Yuck.)
As the day progressed, I became more and more aware of my sin. To say I felt horrible would be a gross understatement. My trust in God’s faithfulness seemed to have left the building with Elvis.
You know how a cornered animal will oftentimes become vicious? Well, my heart is reacting in similar fashion; it’s not letting go of these long-standing idols without a fight. Though I feel a little better today, the war going on inside me is far from over. Quite frankly, I’m afraid of the pain that lies ahead.
Even so—and it’s an amazing testament to God’s grace that I’m even able to say this—this situation is good. I will never be satisfied with these idols. They are not a strong tower—only God is. The most loving thing God can do for me right now is show me my idolatries and lead me by His grace to destroy them. The result will be an increase in humility and faith, which will glorify God as the all-sufficient refuge that alone can save me. And eternal joy in Christ is infinitely more satisfying than trusting in false securities.
There are several places in the Psalms where the reader is exhorted to trust in God alone. Bill referenced one of these passages in his message on Sunday but I can’t remember which. Anyway, I had recently read Psalm 62 in my devotions, and after Sunday I decided to meditate on and memorize verses 5-8. These verses are proving to be a lifeline.
My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.
In commenting on a Scriptural passage that deals with idolatry, Matthew Henry writes the following:
Those, and those only, shall find God to their comfort, who seek him with all their heart. Afflictions engage and quicken us to seek God; and, by the grace of God working with them, many are thus brought back to their right mind. When these things are come upon thee, turn to the Lord thy God, for thou seest what comes of turning from him.
God is graciously working in me a greater awareness of His all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving providence—even in the midst of extremely painful mortification of sin.