“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”
Heard a great story about my favorite trio of novels, The Lord of the Rings. Apparently after the work was published a woman, named Rhona Beare, wrote its author, J. R. R. Tolkein, and said that she thought it ridiculous that such a strong and powerful evil like the Dark Lord could be stopped by the mere destruction of a single ring. Tolkien wrote back: “The Ring of Sauron is only one of the various mythical treatments of the placing of one’s life, or power, in some external object, which is thus exposed to capture or destruction with disastrous results to oneself.”
In Timothy Keller’s latest book, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, he offers this commentary on Tolkien’s words:
“Tolkien means something like this: It is one thing to love somebody and get a lot of joy out of the relationship. But if that person breaks up with you and you want to kill yourself, it means you have given that person too much glory, too much weight in your life. You may have said in your heart, ‘If that person loves me, then I know I am somebody.” But if that person then takes the relationship away, you collapse and melt down because you have ascribed more glory and honor to him or her than to God. If anything matters more to you than God you are placing yourself and your heart into something external. Only if you make God matter the most–which means only if you glorify him and give him the glory–will you have a safe life.” (Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering, p. 169.)
I got to thinking about that “one ring.” It had a power to make the kindest of hearts become violently possessive. It reminded me of people that I have spoken to about that “one habit” or “one sin” or “one relationship” that was bringing them pain and shame. They knew of the burden they were carrying, but yet they just couldn’t bare to let go of it. It has made them so weary… but they trudged on with it… fearing that someone or even God might take it away from them! They desired their “precious” thing more than they desired their Loving Creator. (Romans 1:25)
Maybe here at the start of the year is a good place to chuck some of our favorite idols into the fires of Mount Doom. It won’t be easy. You may need prayer support. But do you really have a choice? Who would want to trade some dime store trinket in for the Glory of the Incorruptible God?
Give Him that which you can’t bear to part with… that thing which are giving more weight to than is due. Give God the glory for everything in your life and OVER everything in your life! And walk humbly with Him in 2014!