“We know that ‘An idol is nothing at all in the world’ and that ‘There is no God but one.'”1 Corinthians 8:4
How do you react when a good thing is jeopardized, blocked or taken away? The answer to that question — not in general but in the specifics of your life — will unveil the things that have more power over you than you want them to, the things that actually take the place of God, your functional saviors, the idols in your life.
Think of a good thing in your life? It could be anything. Start with answering: “what is most important to me in my life?” (you cannot answer God or your faith unless it really is every moment of every day). Get concrete. Think of one thing. Is it your kid’s health and safety? Is it your spouse? Your job? Financial security? Your job? Think of something and come along with me into these questions:
What happens if that thing is jeopardized?
Put yourself there, how would you react? If you are concerned or worried, that is normal. If you would become paralyzed, then consider if you are asking that good thing to be for you something that it is cannot; in some ways a functional savior or idol.
What if that same thing is blocked by someone?
How do you react? What emotions are stirred? If you feel anger, that is expected. If you feel rage, murder or bitterness, could it be that you are looking to this thing to provide more than it was meant to provide? Could you be looking to it for your salvation?
What if this thing is lost to you, gone.
Allow yourself to sit with disturbing thought for a moment. How do you feel? Sad? Despondent? Grieving? Those emotions and feelings can all live in the context of Jesus as your savior. I, on the other hand you would want to throw yourself from a bridge, then that good thing is an idol, a savior and you are looking for it to be something it cannot be.
Each of us has functional saviors, things that in the moment we look to for salvation. Someone asks you if you finished the project you said you would have done. Although you have forgotten and can get it done for them straight away, you lie “yeah, let me send it to you when I get back to the office.” Your idol is competence. Competence is a good thing, but if it is an ultimate thing, you will lie to ensure that it (or the appearance of it to others) is not lost. Each of us has functional saviors that prevent us from experiencing the extraordinary way of Jesus.
What are yours? You see, the pathway to freedom from these false saviors is making them explicit. They prefer to be below the surface so that you don’t think but only react and march to their tune. In order to have freedom, you need to make them explicit. Only then will you really have a choice in the choice you make. It is the choice of freedom, the choice to rid yourself of idols.
Peace, hope and love