It’s easy for the word idol to seem irrelevant to students; a bygone concept belonging only to pagan people of history. Idols and idolatry don’t have anything to do with modern folks like us. We’re past that. We’re secular. Scientific. We’re enlightened. We don’t live our lives in fear of silly little gods who are destined to fail us.
All that is easy to believe, only if our students completely misunderstand the concept of an idol. But once our students grasp what idols actually are they’ll quickly begin to feel their dark kinship with those who bowed to Baal, Molech, Chemosh, and company.
A Letter From Your Idol
To help clear that up, Nicholas McDonald wrote a letter from the perspective of your very own, personal idol.
Do yourself and your students a favor; make sure you read all the way to the very last line.
Hello. I am an idol.
Don’t be afraid, it’s just me. I notice you’re turned off by my name: “Idol.”
It’s okay. I get that a lot.
Allow me to rename myself.
I’m your family.
Your bank account.
Your sex life.
The people who accept you.
Your ideal spouse.
I’m whatever you want me to be.
I’m what you think about while you drive on the freeway.
I’m your anxiety when you lay your head on the pillow.
I’m where you turn when you need comfort.
I’m what your future cannot live without.
When you lose me, you’re nothing.
When you have me, you’re the center of existence.
You look up to those who have me.
You look down on those who don’t.
You’re controlled by those who offer me.
You’re furious at those who keep you from me.
When I make a suggestion to you, you’re compelled.
When you cannot gratify me, I consume you.
No—I cannot see you, or hear you, or speak back to you.
But that’s what you like about me.
No—I am never quite what you think I am.
But that’s why you keep coming back.
And no—I don’t love you.
But I’m there for you, whenever you need me.
What am I?
I think you know by now.
You tell me.
For more about idolatry, see Tim Keller’s incredible message below or pick up his book, Counterfeit Gods.