Two days before Christmas, my netbook got a severe software problem and wouldn’t boot up. (Apologies to those who are already baffled by the vocabulary.) For those who really want to know, an Ubuntu update had managed to corrupt the boot manager, and I didn’t know how to fix it. Suggestions from knowledgeable friends didn’t work either.
Then I noticed something strange and rather disturbing. I was starting to show some classic symptoms of addiction withdrawal - not just moodiness and irritability (because I had caused the problem myself when installing the update), but a feeling of disorientation and something rather akin to grief. I really needed my computer to work, even though this was the Christmas holiday! In other words, I had made an idol of this cheap little netbook.
At church on 26th December I went to the prayer team after the service and confessed the sin of idolatry – I had broken the very first of God’s commandments, and had been looking for comfort in a computer instead of in the God of all comfort. Then through prayer I was released from the hold that Satan had got on me through this sin. I was free.
Idolatry comes in many different disguises. We may find comfort or significance in many things that are not bad in themselves but which can become idols. Maybe this is a good time to take stock: which of my possessions or activities would really cause me grief if I could no longer have it or do it? Have I allowed it to become an idol?
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.
(William Cowper, “O for a closer walk with God”, 1772)
Prayer: Dear Father, please show me if I have allowed something other than You to occupy the throne of my life. I don’t want it to take Your place. Help me to search my heart and make William Cowper’s words real in my life. Amen.
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