Idolatry. Kind of a funny word, huh? Brings to mind images of the olden days when people would huddle around a hunk of metal or wood and utter phrases in tongues not understood by most people, allthewhile sitting prostrate with their hands straight up over their heads and bowing down repetitively.

Well, it does to me anyhow. But let’s be serious, stuff like that doesn’t happen in the modern-day Western world, does it? Oh yeah. It may not be quite so obvious though. And the enemy is much, much more subtle at working it into our lives.

According to The American Heritage College Dictionary, an idol is “One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.” To paraphrase, an idol is anything that steals our focus away from God by causing us to focus on it instead. An idol does not have to be a person, it can be very easily something. Anything can become an idol to us, no matter how good or beneficial it may be. A car. A house. A job. A promotion. A relationship. It can even be something from God, ironically enough. That’s what happened in my life a couple of months ago.

A little over a year ago, God showed me the answer to a prayer I’ve had for a while. I, of course, was super psyched about it. I knew that it wasn’t going to happen right away, but that it was something coming along down the road.

But, after a couple of months with nothing seemingly happening in that area, I started to get kind of discouraged. I had told a couple of my friends about it, and they would ask about it whenever they would see me, and all I could say was that I was still waiting on God. But, with my waiting, I had started praying about it, a lot. There would be days where almost my entire prayer time would be taken up with it. I had started focusing on it, rather than on God and letting Him take care of things in His time. Then doubt began to set in. Doubt as to whether what I remember happening so plainly actually happened or not. As to the actual meaning of what God had showed me. At this point, there was very little faith left in my prayers about it.

This doubt began to spread to other areas of my faith, to the point ultimately that the enemy had me starting to question the love of God and my salvation. My walk with God was spent in the midst of this spiritual battle, and I was losing. I had taken my eyes off of God and was focusing instead on a one of His gifts. No matter what I tried, I was unable to break free of the battle the enemy had me entrapped within. I cried out to God for help, and He answered my prayer in a way I didn’t expect: by taking it completely out of my grasp, to where only He could reach it. It’s honestly the best thing that could have happened, because He set me free. God is so good at doing that. He is an expert at setting us free from our past, from the things that are keeping us from Him. Mind you, free doesn’t mean that all the repercussions are gone. And it doesn’t mean that we won’t struggle again in the future. And it doesn’t mean that our lives will be a breeze from that point on. But the burden of that load is gone, and we have the knowledge that no matter what happens, He will always be there alongside us, which is very, very reassuring.

I’d like to say that after that point, everything was instantly better. But it has been a long, hard climb back. But with His help, I’m getting closer to Him every day once again. And, I’m wiser too. Looking back, I’m now able to see the steps I took, and how they affected my relationship with my Father. How by focusing on something other than God Himself, the most important relationship in my life started to falter. Not because of something God did. He did not move. If anything, He drew closer to me. I was the one that moved away, got distracted by the shiny thing off in the distance.

Do I know how this all will end now? Nope. God knows though. But more importantly, I do know that no matter what happens, God is right here with me. Even in the midst of my doubt, faithlessness, and stupidity, Jesus still loved me enough to die for me. That is what is so amazing about Grace. 🙂