You must break down their pagan altars and shatter their sacred pillars. Cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols. – Deuteronomy 7:5

If repetition is the mother of learning, then there is hope for me.  God keeps working the same lessons deeper into my soul.  I give up an idol for a while.  Time passes and subtly I’m lured back to my familiar friend/enemy with assurances that this time I can really control it, that it won’t hurt me.

My bathroom scale is my Asherah pole.  A week ago, I put it up;  that is ‘I removed it from the high place, but did not destroy it’. What high place was that? – the high place in my heart.  Each morning, awakened by the alarm, my FIRST thought of the morning was, “Maybe THIS time the scale will show me what I want to weigh and I WILL BE HAPPY!”  It was a temptation that held me in a vise-like grip.  More often than not, the numbers were NOT what I wanted and my outlook was set for the day – disappointment and gloom.  But on the rare days that my weight was what I wanted, I was VERY happy.  No matter what would happen, I could say with some peace of mind, “Well, at least I weigh XYZ”

Over the last few years, I have known this was not only sinful and wrong but demoralizing and unhealthy.  The Holy Spirit has often suggested the TRUE alternative to cheer me on,  “Well, (if my day is less than desirable)  at least I am chosen and dearly loved by God with 10,000 promises of future joys and pleasures, fellowship and peace with God and the company of the saints  awaiting me in heaven.”  Now that’s a life-giving picture.

I define an idol as a creaturely way to provide one’s own pleasure, significance or security.  When we create and worship (i.e. elevate its value in our life) something, we communicate to God that WE know what is best for us, that we can’t trust Him to provide what we need or want.

How do you identify idols? (Yes, there is often more than one)  For me, it’s the groove my thoughts run to automatically, habitually in order to self-console or self-medicate. “Hmm, what will give me a ‘divertissement’ from this present unpleasant day?”  I am like a child sucking his finger, a smoker lighting up, a nosher providing herself mouth-pleasure, a man de-stressing with porn, or on the other hand an over-achiever in competitive events (sports, sales, style, materialism or academics).  I have found solace in finding an achievement about which I could feel good and actually superior to my peers.  Weighing a certain weight has been the ultimate source of self-worth.

But a cruel slave-driver is my scale.  What power it has over my day.  Knowing this and trying to rebel against its tyranny,  I would often try to fight my idol’s hold over me with the logical reminder that before long I will have a new body in heaven.  I would ponder why such a temporary physical thing like a few pounds could mean that much to me?  Each day I reasoned how stupid I was to let an inanimate object determine my well-being.  But reason could not counter the siren pull of the scales, the temptation to validate myself by weighing my dream weight of 127.

So last Saturday, I put the scales in the closet for good.  I have asked God to help me resist ever getting that cruel taskmaster back out.   I will let my annual visit to the doctor be my only monitor.  So far I have felt free. I know that living by Grace is a daily endeavor.  I will need to feed on Grace thoughts to counter my natural bent to living by the Law.

Please post what helps you live idol-free!  Or how we can pray so that you may be free from the tyranny of the Law!