What are Idols?
Websters Dictionary says an idol is: “an object of extreme devotion; a representation or symbol of an object of worship broadly: a false god”.
Do we control Idolatry or does it control us?
We all want to be significant and liked by others. When we are young, we try to find something that will help us gain acceptance from others. For some it is sports, for some, it is beauty and appearance. For others, it is intellectual pursuit and getting straight A’s.
For Pauly, it was dance. At first, dancing was a way that Pauly’s parents wanted to help her clumsiness because she was pigeon-toed. They gave her dance lessons. After a while though, the dance lessons became intoxicating.
The applause and accolades from the crowd made her feel important and powerful. Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting applause or attention, but when we live for it or we try and gain our worth from it, it is dangerous. These experiences become “idols”.
Idols Gain Power and Control
In our book, we call them dragon eggs that are hatched and at first are baby dragons. Eventually, they turn into a big, fire-breathing, dangerous dragon. This idea is based on a story told in the book about Princess Amanda and the dragon. See chapter two of “Learning How to Trust“. Initially, our dragons appear harmless because they seem small and controllable. We seem to have power over them because we can choose to walk away at any time. The problem comes when we can’t run away and we are stuck.
A good example of this principle is seen in Walk the Line, a movie chronicling Johnny Cash’s rise to stardom and his struggle with drug addiction. Cash’s drug use starts with a couple of pills shared by another entertainer during a road trip and escalates until he’s downing handfuls of pills at a time. At one point in the movie, under the influence of drugs and alcohol, he argues with June Carter. She refuses to have anything more to do with him in his intoxicated state. Finally, staggering away, he mutters, “I’ll come back when you’re feeling better.” Cash’s “recreational” drug use has become a full-fledged addiction that has robbed him of everything that matters in his life, but he is unwilling to take personal responsibility for his misery. This type of idolatry, addiction, has become an epidemic across the United States.
What Happens When Idols Take Control?
In “Learning How to Trust”, our character in chapter two, Amanda, thinks she and the dragon are a “perfect match” because they play so well together. Certain types of pleasurable sin make us feel “more alive.” Unfortunately, this is a deception. Over time, the action becomes a habit and the habit becomes a necessity. During this transitional phase, pride and denial enter the picture.
We’re losing control and need help, but we don’t want to admit it. Friends may notice changes in our behavior but rather than admit the possibility that they are right, we begin isolating ourselves from those friends. Having begun with a lie, such as “I can stop doing this any time I want to,” we have trouble admitting the truth: “This thing has gotten out of my control. I need help.”
So we continue feeding ourselves lies like, “Other people may have trouble with this thing (this habit, this drug use, this anger problem, this illicit behavior), but not me. I’m different.” We consider ourselves to be the exceptions to the rule – somehow above the laws of human behavior that govern every other person in the universe.
At the same time, we underestimate the dragon’s increasing strength. We continue to view it as controllable long after it has gained a life and power of its own. Back in the days of vinyl records, the folk-singing Smothers Brothers recorded a song about the “Slitheree Dee.” It went something like this:
Oh the slitheree-dee,
it crept out of the sea,
you may catch all the others
but you won’t catch me.
No you won’t get me,
What is the solution? I would encourage you to listen to our book on audiobooks through our website. We give a solution to resolve this problem.