“Frodo gave a cry, and there he was, fallen upon his knees at the chasm's edge. But Gollum, dancing like a mad thing, held aloft the ring, a finger still thrust within its circle.” J.R.R. Tolkein The Return of The King
It's a curious thing, idol worship. It can leave me gutted, splayed on the floor, grasping for air in my cesspool of regret and shame and still wanting to grope around in fear that it will really be gone. Like Frodo, it sickens my heart, the weight of it crushes my lungs, but I want to take it out and hold it. Guard it. Manage it. Treasure it. All the while, staring at my heart-sick future as Gollum.
I really want to be faithful, steady, humble Samwise, instead. Not this proud, enslaved idolater.
Timothy Keller call our hearts "idol-factories". I know I feel like Lucy and Ethel working in the chocolate factory with those idols popping up until all hell breaks loose. One appears out of the number on my scale. Another in my closet. In my ear. At times, friends take on their form. And my boys. Morality, too. They pop up everywhere. Born of good things and bad. Smallish ones that are easy to hand over if gotten to in time. Or so small that they seem harmless. Large ones that are placed at God's feet only to grab them back. But they all keep focus off the sovereign Lord. If you've been one, forgive me for putting you on that pedestal instead of walking along side you as a sister in Christ.
And the precious. The one that calls to death. I don't find it necessary to name it here so that you may fill in the blank with your own. And it's changed in different phases of life. "You shall have NO other gods before me." Throw it down! I want to want to. Lord, do I need to be led through Mordor again? I can only do it on your strength. I thought I could and should do it on my own strength, but that is a lie. My only real strength is found in you. Burn this pride away. Change my eyes to see what is. To see you as you are. To worship you only.
When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!” Jonah 2:7-9
God, help me trade in my idols for a crown.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Thank you to all my Sam Gamgees, Meriadoc Brandybucks, and Peregrin Tooks. Faithful in your love and sacrifice. And even you Smeagols, who are helping slay pride. That you're all here is a reminder of the true and faithful love of the only one whom I should worship.