Our spiritual pilgrimage is nothing but the progressive elimination of idols after idols. We have to destroy our idols and eventually reach a place of sanctity where God alone reigns as the ruler of our hearts. We have to reach a place where our will is completely surrendered to the will of God. This process is very painful. Some of us will never kill our idols. Some people will live in perpetual denial of having an idol in their life.
Some will continue to worship their idols by rationalizing and intellectualizing their idol-worship. Some will succeed in destroying few idols, while others will destroy a great lot of idols. I feel the most difficult part is in destroying the last surviving idol. The total annihilation of the last idol is the biggest stumbling block at the ninety ninth step to the mountain of the Lord.
What is an Idol?
What is an Idol? Idol is anything that consumes your thought life and prevents you from loving God with all your heart, all your strength and all your understanding. Keeping a thought that blocks God is the denial of the first commandment. What are those thoughts? Pride keeps us from reaching God. Vainglory from men, money, doing things for appreciation, excessive indulgence in the pleasures of life are all idols. I believe that many spiritual people can kill most of their idols except the last one.
When it comes to the last idol, they tenaciously hold on. They bargain with God. They will say to God, “I don’t do any bad things but this is the only small thing that gives me some happiness. Why can’t I drink? Why can’t I smoke? Why can’t I see an R-rated artistic movie? I have given up everything for you. You are a merciful God and just allow me to keep one small weakness. I ask for only one”.
The last idol still prevents us from reaching God. God is Holy and he will not allow 99% purity and 1% filth in his Kingdom. It is all or none with him. Your heart should be completely mortgaged to the will of God. Food was the last idol of Esau and he sold his birth right for a pot of stew. Sex was the last idol of Samson and he destroyed himself though he was a consecrated to God even within the womb of his mother. Woman was the last idol of Solomon. Children were the idol of High priest Eli and he refused to discipline them. God allowed Eli, his sons and the entire nation of Israel to lose pathetically to the philistines, and even allowed the philistines to carry away the Ark of the Covenant. The power and seduction of Jezebel was the idol of her husband and so he was considered accursed.
What is your last idol? Your last idol is that “very precious thing” that you secretly enjoy by shunning God away from it. The last idol is that secret wish harbored by you in the dark corner of your heart. You are hiding your last idol from your wife, children, confessor and God. You think God will allow one last idol out of his ‘mercy”. It is a lie. God will not allow any idol to take his place. He is a jealous God who owns your body.
Kill your flesh and rip off the last idol. There will be enormous resistance, as The Evil one has made you believe that it is OK with God to have one last idol. If you look at a woman with lust you have already committed adultery with her. Get rid of that evil eye from your thought life. It is better to go to heaven without ever seeing an R-rated adult movie than living in hell.
The commandments of our Lord are hard and therefore many “Christians” have taken away hell from the eternal equation. Many “Christians” live in a world of wishful thinking. The “Christians” are not killing their last idol but is rather killing the sense of right and wrong so that we are living in a “sinless” society. Nobody talks about sin any more.
I remember reading a pastoral letter addressed to every parishioner by a bishop from a certain diocese in America. The letter was literally an apology to the homosexuals. At no time he used his apostolic authority to tell the confused parishioners as to what the living word of God speaks about homosexuality. Well, it is between him and his creator and what have I got to do with it. As far as I am concerned, I stand before the throne of God appealing for his abundant grace to kill my last Idol. I hate my last idol, and I ask St Michael the prince of the heavenly hosts to destroy the last idol in my life.
– – – written by Dr. Jacob C Tony