(Today’s post by Chris Queen)
I’ve been a fan of Survivor for a long time. If you’re a fan of the show like I am you’ll be familiar with the concept of the immunity idol. In the early stages of the game, the tribes compete for a statue that exempts them from voting out a member. Once the tribes merge, individual immunity is a goal that player strive for.
Throughout the game, hidden idols are scattered about the camp. Players scramble – with and without clues – to find these coveted idols. They’re actually a great metaphor, because many contestants become obsessed with these idols, and the idols become a key part of their strategy. Jeff Probst, the host, often says the competitors “crave” or “covet” the hidden idols.
Idols are nothing new; in fact, they’ve been around for a long time. In chapter 20 of Ezekiel, God told Ezekiel to address the people of Israel:
6 On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of Egypt into a land I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands. 7 And I said to them, “Each of you, get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
8 “‘But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not get rid of the vile images they had set their eyes on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in Egypt. 9 But for the sake of my name, I brought them out of Egypt. I did it to keep my name from being profaned in the eyes of the nations among whom they lived and in whose sight I had revealed myself to the Israelites. 10 Therefore I led them out of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, by which the person who obeys them will live.
27 “Therefore, son of man, speak to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In this also your ancestors blasphemed me by being unfaithful to me: 28 When I brought them into the land I had sworn to give them and they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices, made offerings that aroused my anger, presented their fragrant incense and poured out their drink offerings.
Israel’s rebellion most often centered around idols. If we’re to be honest about our own lives, we would see idols in our own lives too.
Idols aren’t just little icons made of wood or stone. Anything that takes our eyes off of God is an idol. That thought begs the question: what are your idols? (I’ll give you a minute to grab your steel toed shoes. I’m about to step on some toes…including my own…)
Is your idol money? Is it fun and pleasure? Is it work? Is it music, television, or movies? Is it your favorite college football team (gasp)? Is it your kid’s travel baseball or softball team (yikes)? Is it your family (gulp)?
Many of these things in our lives are good and wonderful things, but they automatically become idols when we misplace their priority in our lives. Anything – and I do mean anything – that stands between us and complete surrender to God is an idol. Beware the hidden idols in your life…there’s no immunity with them.
What are your idols? How can you assure they take the proper priority in your life and cease to be idols?