One of my favourite Bible stories is God’s rescue of his people from the hands of the Egyptians by the parting of the Red Sea. However, when I first read this it amazed me to find only a short while after this miraculous deliverance that the Israelites turned away from God and instead built themselves a golden calf idol to worship.
It is easy for us to read this and think smugly: I would never do that, I won’t ever worship false Gods. But over the years as I have grown in maturity as a Christian I began to realise that idols are not just other gods or religions and that the worshipping of idols is still just as much of a temptation in the modern world we live in as it was all those years ago. In actual fact an idol can be anything that takes the rightful place of God in our lives.
This year I decided to think about what my personal idols might be; where do I go in times of trouble? What do I turn to when I am feeling sad, stressed, angry, or anxious? One of the first things that came into my mind was food; particularly sweets, chocolate, cakes, biscuits. The common link between all of these is sugar and so I made the decision to stop eating it for the 40 days of devotion. Instead of turning to this idol I am focusing on turning to God and prayer in difficult situations and when I am struggling with painful emotions.
I would like to challenge you too! What are your idols? Where do you turn when things are difficult? It could be smoking, sex, relationships, sport, work, music, drinking, food, social media, box sets? There are so many things we use to help us deal with life, when God should be our first port of call. And most importantly these other things can never be the answer to our problems…We have been designed by our creator with a God shaped hole that only he can fill!