The Ides Of Idolatry


The Ides of Idolatry

The push and pull of turbulent circumstances tends to be an arduous internal affair on every end— we may discover our mental and emotional amplitude deflating, spiritual resilience eroding, and fleshly desires manifesting. In moments and seasons of testing, we begin to remodel the "home" that had been built over and under our hearts. Our idealized version of ourselves are forcefully projected onto our relationships, work, ministry, and whatever else that requires our heart-contribution. We attempt to maintain a sense of normalcy and control over our desired outcome. We attempt to save face and overlook the faulty foundations and the potential damage prone to be inflicted on our homes until a storm unexpectedly hits and runs. In my recent season of being tested in my faith, I was called to inspect and observe the footing of the home in which my heart resides in and the foundation below it. It was in my snot-faced, broken state when the Holy Spirit lovingly directed my eyes to the decorations I've placed throughout the corners of my heart's home-- idols that resembled the likeness of God.   

Heart Inspection: Quality Control

The majority of my youth to mid-twenties was a pendulum swing of emotional highs and lows, causing me to develop a habit of reacting my way throughout life’s currents. My feelings dictated me to the extent of conceiving ungodly values, shaping worldly desires, and hastily making regretful decisions. My heart's home was made of sticks and stones I picked up along the way. Yet none of the material surrounding the very thing I'd been called to reverently steward proved to be sustainable. I was easily swayed by the world, thus perpetuating the fabrication of the idols within. With my heart out in the open for the wolves to devour, my trajectory wasn't upward and inward to the glory of God. Instead, it was an insecure, static dead end as I latched onto my well-kept idols for a false sense of security. I turned a blind eye to any flicker of light beckoning me to a place of audacious faith and avoided the process of becoming set apart. That's the ensnaring trap of idolatry-- it is a silent killer that grooms us in darkness and deviates us away from the true vine.

Idolatry: Turning Away from His  Blueprint

The ides of idolatry is a deceiving place-- normalcy and contentment are falsely fabricated en route to breakthrough and “amicably” leads us astray. We don't arrive at this destination abruptly. It is a subtle, gradual expedition with a whole lot of "gray" side-steps on the itinerary. The lack of proactivity in sharpening our discernment, walking in obedience behind closed doors, and sidelining our intimacy with Jesus will inevitably lead us to an unconscious detour, one decision at a time. The Father opposes sin, so much that He makes it clear as day His unapologetic response to it. 

God’s Law: The Heart’s Framework

The framework for the heart's home came in the form of the Ten Commandments. When the Lord provided these laws via Moses at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 20), the sins of the Israelites (and all mankind) were being exposed. Through His Word, the Lord revealed the frailty and gullibility of our hearts in being led astray whilst conveying the Father’s heart that put everything on the line for the redemption and righteousness of His children. The laws aren't designed to repress and retract us-- they are meant to drain out the infection of the soul and keep us from harm's way. These boundaries are the exact sustainable "material" we need to protect, promote nourishment, and upkeep our hearts' holy residence.  Everything we do flows from the heart (Proverbs 4:23). Without this form of durable protection, we are left vulnerable to be swayed and dismayed by wolves and storms alike.

When I was younger in my faith, I remember feeling conflicted, even disturbed, at the idea of being deliberately tested by a God who claimed to love me. In hindsight, I understand that feeling was only valid due to my immature, short-sighted love affair with the world. I was leading a double life as 1 John 2:15-17 defines it. I did not truly love the Father because my heart was tightly-gripped with "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”-- Any open space within my heart was cluttered with hoarded briberies from the world These trinkets debilitated any effort to even consider the will of God, distorting my vision to see Him rightly and ensnaring my feet to prevent walking in-step with His.

Repentance: Moving Into New Territory

The Ten Commandments can be perceived as one of the most heartfelt love letters from our Father. Not all love letters are ornamented with fluff-- some cut straight to the heart's core and relay fervor with precision, adding yet another layer to this incalculable, immeasurable and incomparable love that is God. To communicate clearly the distinction of sin and pave a clear way to the heart of God is loving, powerful, and most romantic in its gesture-- His clarity is kindness that would beckon an idol-ridden heart towards repentance and complete surrender. One of the greater blessings of turbulence and the testing of our faith is the increasing awareness we attain of both God's unswerving character and will, and our opportunity to respond to it all. Deep intimacy calls to deeper intimacy, and our desires begin to look like His. Love never felt more real and intimacy so deep when the heart is cleared of any forged imageries of our one true God.

We mustn't grow apathetic nor avoidant to the Holy Spirit’s process of frequently examining our hearts to discern what the object of our worship is. We must yearn for it and test the condition of our home's footing, framework, and foundation. As the heart's holy residence is forged with humility, integrity, and intimacy, we abide in Christ, our true vine-- the roots of old habits wither as we reposition our hearts and new buds begin to blossom. Deviation from His ways becomes unattractive and the sweetness of intimacy with the Lord becomes increasingly evident. Christ and His glory alone becomes our true reward.

"Blessed is the one

    who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

    or sit in the company of mockers,

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

    and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

    which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

    whatever they do prospers."

 Psalm 1:1-3

Monica Han is currently serving as the worship director of Thanksgiving Church’s Lifepoint Ministry. She loves quality cuppa, conversations, and creative projects. She is also a minimalism enthusiast who believes freedom from materialism makes sustainable room for generosity, deeper relationships, and prolonging hunger for the eternal things.

Daniel LeeComment