Widow for a Season: Finding
Your Identity in Christ
Chapter Nine: The Idol Mask
Idolatry is the practice of substituting anything in the place of Christ
or our trust in Him. It is what we
receive emotional peace and reassurance from outside of God alone.
Because as widows we struggle with loneliness and sometimes empty spaces
in our lives we are especially vulnerable.
2 Chronicles 29:3 — 2 Chronicles 31:21 tells the story of Hezekiah, the
people of Judah, and their victory in utterly destroying idolatry from the land
for a reign of twenty-nine years. We
will develop a personal application of that process in our own lives by exposing
our own idols and discovering what they represent to us.
As we learn to substitute Christ and our relationship with Him in their
place we will begin to experience a personal freedom from their bondage.
Nine - The Idol Mask
you will be surprised to learn that the exposure of subtle idolatrous
practices can play an important part in a widow’s struggle for recovery. Some might suggest that compared to other places and other
times, the sin of idolatry certainly is not an issue in our nation today.
While it is true that some of the obviously idolatrous ritual
practices of Buddism and Shintoism may not play a large part in our
“Christian” culture, we have replaced carved images and pagan shrines
with equally harmful attitudes and behaviors.
In fact, however, these less visible practices can be so subtle that
we struggle to identify them. Let’s
define more specifically what the practice of idolatry involves.
Very simply, idolatry is the substitution of a dependence on
something else — anything else — for our trust in God. We must go
before God and honestly ask Him to reveal what is in our heart concerning
the issue of trust.
God wants to expose the idolatry that exists in our heart, so He can
cleanse us and draw us to Himself. Satan, however, will use everything at
his disposal to keep us in bondage to that idolatry. He knows our
weaknesses. He observes our need and offers just the right God-substitutes
to meet it. Let’s look at loneliness, for example.
We may find ourselves struggling with the loss of companionship
when our husbands die. Filling
that void outside of Christ is idolatry whether we fill it with eating,
shopping, reading, or movies. There
is nothing wrong with any of these activities in and of themselves, but
they can be used for the purpose of filling the void of loneliness that we
should be letting Christ fill. The
hard reality for many is that God is not enough on a daily basis, and the
Biblical truth that Christ is sufficient for all circumstances is not our
experience. Until we admit the insufficiency of Christ in our lives, we
will not be able to identify and change our own subtle idolatrous