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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Hidden Idols and Dangerous Saboteurs

You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind. Exodus 20:4, NLT

We shun the practice of bowing before sculptured idols. We know there is no heartbeat in a statue, no leadership in marble, no love in a stiff, unmoving form. We would like to skip what Jeremiah says: They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. Jeremiah 2:5 because we don't believe in worshiping idols.

Do we?


What about the space we reserve in our hearts for what we want out of life, what we believe we have a right to pursue?


Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York where 5,000 worship weekly, asked these questions to help his people discern whether they had an idol problem:

What do you worry about most?

What preoccupies the most of your thoughts?

What do you want to make sure people know about you?

How do you feel when they don’t know it?


Idols are self-determined goals or desires that become our task masters. They make us slaves and trap us into thinking that without them we are much less than we would be with them. They are at odds with everything Christ wants us to live without: slavery, stress, fear, insecurity and anything that makes us less free than God’s desires.


Often, it’s not the bad things we run after; it’s the good things and the way we skew our thinking to believe that they, in themselves, will give us what we want or need.


The answer is not to throw away the goal, the dream, the deep-rooted desire or even to try to convince yourself you could live without it. The answer is to submit it, hands off and palms down. We know when we have done the work of submission when we can say to God that it is okay if He doesn’t give it back because we know that what He gives instead will fulfill and complete us better.


When we surrender such misplaced pursuits, we take our journey to the cross with lighter loads. 

Isn't that what you want?

For your personal journey to the cross . . .

Don't forget to download  week 3 of this year's Lenten Guide: Sunrise for the Soul. If you haven't downloaded the first two weeks, you can download week 1-3 here. More to come in my next post. If you need me to send your copy by email at . If you've already requested an email copy, you're on my list!

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