I grew up in a small peach colored house in Southeast Texas. We had a huge yard, roughly 1.5 acres I think. I spent most of my days as a younger child outside exploring the woods around my house, catching crawfish in the ditch that spiraled the side of our home and just enjoying the many possibilities that a big yard and an ambitious imagination afforded me.
In two particular areas of our yard where the landscape was lower and prone to hold water, you could hardly take more than a couple of steps without stepping on a “crawdad” mound. They were prolific! If you have never seen a crawdad mound, they are ugly. I would equate them to a tiny black or brown cone shaped igloo made of mud.
As a kid wanting to run, turn cartwheels, jump and roll in the green grass, particularly fresh cut, in wide open spaces, the crawdads and their homes were unwelcomed intruders. I can vividly remember ever day in the summer time I would kick those suckers over thinking I was reclaiming my territory. One by one, I would go through and clear my space for play. The frustrating thing about destroying the crawdad’s homes, however, was that it seemed that no sooner than I flattened them, I would return the next day to find them there again.
My attempts at creating a clean, green, grassy playground were endless. Day after day I would have to return to knock down the unsightly invaders to start with a clean slate for play.
This past week I was thinking about idols that set up home in my heart. Those thoughts are what rekindled my childhood memories of the crawdad mounds. I will think I have excavated an idol, feeling like I am ready to start anew, much like my play yard growing up. But the reality is, as soon as I rid myself of one, ten more crop up. Also, it is usually not very long before the “kicked out” idol resurfaces, and I have to deal with it yet again.
John Calvin said the human heart is a factory of idols. I will add to his observation that mine is no exception. Idols are the thieves of souls and confiscators of peace and joy. They are dressed up impostures that promise pleasure but ultimately never deliver the pacification they purport. They have an inferior half-life that leaves all partakers thirsty and still longing for more.
Tim Keller defines idols this way, “[An idol] is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”
Idols are insidious. They can be occupying my heart and monopolizing my mind long before I realize it if I am not guarded. My heart and mind are permeable, and I have to be a good steward of them because our world is in pursuance of them on all fronts.
If you, like me, regularly find yourself having to expunge the idols that wedge themselves into your heart, do not be discouraged, friend. A wise person once told me that seeing more gaps in my life, is a sign of spiritual maturity.
Only what is acknowledged can be abolished. There is freedom in recognizing our sins because only what is seen can be surrendered. You are loved!