What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Maybe you notice a wrinkle you’re convinced wasn’t there yesterday, or you wonder if you’ve put on a few extra pounds since the last time you really looked.
Or … maybe you don’t see any of those things.
Somehow we learn how to look at our reflections without seeing the things we don’t like about ourselves, don’t we?
But our selective blindness doesn’t end there.
We often don’t pause and examine our lives long enough to see our own negative behavior. Or we minimize our sin. Or we make excuses for why we’re not treating others as Christ-like as we should.
Author and speaker Dee Brestin labels those tendencies “idols of the heart.”
We know we’re not supposed to set up idols in our lives. It tells us so in Exodus 20:4. The commandment in Exodus, of course, speaks about graven images, physical statues and carvings the Israelites could see and bowed down to when they turned away from the Lord.
The idols of our heart aren’t quite so easy to spot. In fact, we can’t “see” them at all. We only recognize they’re present because of the bad fruit that crops up in our lives, like when we try to control other people to get our way or when we mistreat someone who doesn’t do what we want them to do.
Those behaviors become the “little saviors” we rely on to manipulate situations to get what we want instead of trusting God to act in our lives according to His perfect will.
Dee never saw one of the biggest idols in her life until her fourth administrative assistant in 10 years resigned. She talked to a good friend about the problem. Her friend didn’t seem a bit surprised and said, “Four? In 10 years? Seems to be a pattern in your life.”
For Dee, it was like having a mirror set before her and seeing for the first time all the things she had avoided noticing before. It was the first time she realized that she may have been the problem.
Dee’s story illustrates how easy it is to put our trust in something other than God. It also shows why surrounding ourselves with a community of trusted fellow believers is so crucial. We generally don’t have that kind of objectivity on our own. We’re good at deceiving ourselves. Jeremiah says our hearts are deceitful above all things (17:9), so we can only see so far into the murky waters of our hearts by ourselves.
More importantly, fellow Christians can walk with us and become agents of God’s grace to help us destroy our idols and to change, grow, and mature in Christ.
I invite you to join us today for our program with Dee Brestin we’ve titled, “Turning to God, Not Idols.” She’ll share her story of how she felt imprisoned by her heart idols and how God set her free. I believe her transparency and vulnerability will help all of us see the areas in our own lives where we struggle.