“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
1 John 5:21 KJV
Let me begin with something you already know and that is: God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5). Now, what is an idol? One of the definitions of idol according to Oxford Learners Dictionary is a statue that is worshipped as God. This definition is what most of us are familiar with as far as idol worship is concerned especially those of us in Africa. However, there is another definition and that is a person or thing that is loved and admired very much. The Webster dictionary also defines idolatry as excessive devotion or reverence for a person or thing.
One of the best definitions I have come across is by April Cassidy who rightly points out that anything that we believe we must have to be happy that isn’t Christ is an idol. A very simple and straightforward definition. In modern times, idolatry has progressed beyond bowing in front of images and statutes. Let me also add that idols could be persons, ideas, loyalties or things that take center stage in our lives (which is where Christ should be). So you see, idolatry can also be a matter of the heart. For the purpose of this article, I would focus on three modern idols Christian mothers tend to accommodate: Marriage, Husbands and Children.
Marriage is ordained by God and is a sacred thing (Matthew 19:4-6). However, God never intended for it to take His place in our lives. The entire purpose of marriage is to glorify God as well as mirror the marriage of Jesus Christ to the church (Colossians 1:16, Matthew 23:20, Matthew 22:30).
Our earthly marriage will pass away but you know something, there will be an even greater marriage in heaven- the marriage between Christ and the church. In Hebrews 13:4 we see that marriage is honorable. In the amplified version honor is explained as something of great value which means that while we treasure marriage and strive to please God in our marriages, our marriages are not as important as God Himself. DO NOT PLACE YOUR MARRIAGE BEFORE GOD.
How many of us are so obsessed with the thoughts of having a great marriage that it consumes our thoughts daily?
My advice is give God His place in your life and marriage otherwise you will miss out on the great marriage that is to take place in heaven. After all, our fleshly marriage is only a reflection of the greater marriage to come. Remember Jesus is often referred to as the Bridegroom and the church His bride ( John 3:29, Matthew 22:1-4, Revelation 19:7-9).
The interesting thing here is that many people who idolize their husbands do not even realize that they do this. I know this for sure because I have actually been there and in my case, I only began to know peace when I gave God his rightful place. I guess unreasonably high expectations may be one of the reasons spouses in general become idols. Are you looking to your husband to fulfill your every need? You do not need to idolize your spouse in order to be happy, in fact doing so brings about the exact opposite. How much do you rely on your husband who by the way is human? Do you seek from your husband things you should seek from God such as wisdom, love, inspiration etc. I am not saying your husband should not inspire or love you however seek those things from God first. Your husband is human and his abilities and strength may fail you- remember that your husband should also be totally dependent on God. Stop wanting your husband to be EVERYTHING!
This one has a two pronged effect. You see when our children become idols, not only do we hurt ourselves but we hurt them too. When our children become the center of our lives and trying to make them constantly happy becomes the paramount thing, we err. When your children become idols everything else suffers- time with God, time with your spouse, finances (because you want to buy EVERYTHING you possibly can for them). I need to reiterate that I am not saying you should not make your children happy but often parents who make this the paramount thing in life often fail to discipline their children and teach them right from wrong. Every and anything the children do is okay. Sometimes we compromise on Godly principles and standards just to keep them happy and rather than correct them, we say things like “they are only kids” even when the children in question are old enough to be held accountable for certain behaviors.
The Bible says children are a blessing (a gift from the Lord Psalm 127:3-5) but they are not our sufficiency. They are not our all in all. Christ is our sufficiency (2 Corinthians 3:5, 2 Corinthians 9:8).
While we do not and will probably never explicitly admit even to ourselves that we have idolized our marriages, husbands and children, our actions speak otherwise. I thank God for showing me this aspect of my life and I also felt the need to share with others.