You worship your way into porn, and you must worship your way out of it. ~~Don Carson
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3
We are all governed by an overwhelming positive passion. ~~Tim Keller
I tend to think that an idol is some sort of totem or carved image. But an idol is anything that I elevate to such an extent that I get my significance or my security from it. It can be an evil thing (drugs) or a good thing (family). But God does not suffer competitive lovers lightly. I cannot replace an idol by turning away from it. I have to turn toward something.
In the book of Genesis, a young man named Jacob meets a young woman named Rachel and tells her father he wants to marry her and offers to work for Laban in order to win Rachel’s hand. Laban loves this deal.
“So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” Genesis 29:20
This is remarkable! Every single day for seven years Jacob doesn’t just show up for work. He shows up with a song in his heart. Why did seven years seem like a few days to Jacob? Because he had an overwhelming positive passion.
Zacchaeus had an overwhelming positive passion for money. He was an Israelite who collected taxes for the occupying government of Rome. This treasonous behavior meant that he gave up: reputation, community, friendship, honor, integrity, to get money. Then one day he meets Jesus. On that day, he says, “All right, I’m done with money. I’m going to pay everybody back I ever cheated four times what I cheated from them. Then half of everything I have, I’m going to give it to help the poor.”
What enabled him to be liberated from his idol of money? He found a new overwhelming, positive passion. His name was Jesus.
One of C.S. Lewis’ friends Dorothy Sayers wrote mystery novels. She was one of the first women to graduate from Oxford. She is famous for the Lord Peter Wimsey stories. Peter was a detective and an investigator. (Think Sherlock Holmes) They are wonderful to read and are dramatized on the BBC. One critic pointed out that if you read the Peter Wimsey stories closely you can see that though he was successful at solving mysteries and crimes, he was lonely. He was a lonely bachelor.
Half way through the series of detective novels, a character is introduced named Harriet Vane. And guess what? She writes mystery novels. And she was one of the first women to graduate from Oxford. Sound familiar?
The author, Dorothy Sayers, had looked into her own creation and fallen in love with her hero. She saw how lonely he was and so she wrote herself into the story. She won his love, they got married. She saved him from his life of loneliness.
That is exactly what God did. He looked into the world He created and He sees us flailing and floundering and He wrote Himself into the story as Jesus Christ who died on the cross to save us.
And when you grasp that and let Him “win you over” and fall in love with Jesus, you will see your idol tarnish in the light of such love, and you will cast it down and embrace Him. But you must be willing to be “won over” and then Jesus becomes your magnificent obsession.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.