On Authority and Idols

If you have been raised in Sunday School, you have been talking about idols your whole life. At least I have. There are felt boards and coloring books, and once I saw a teenager at a campfire dress up like a sacred cow, and literally fall over before the Lord. I’ve never really had a physical idol problem in my house. No golden calves, no statues of Baal. But I am learning that lack of precious metal statues doesn’t mean I don’t have an idol problem.


I have heard the Spirit say what I am qualified to do, and have instead waited for someone else to say it, for someone else to call it, for someone else to crown me worthy. I have done this more times than I can count. God says speak, and I raise my hand and wait for someone else to call on me. I do not accept that His authority alone is worthy. I need something more.


But what did tell you? I ask my tiny daughter, caught doing the opposite of what she was told. But my sister told me to. But what did I tell you to do. It isn’t that she didn’t hear me. It is just that there are other opinions that matter more. Mainly, her sister’s, but it isn’t for her sister to say. I am the mom, and right now I’m the authority. Sometimes I learn more than I want to about myself while parenting.


I’ve been the idol I think, a time or two. I have been complicit in this action. I have spoken with an authority I did not posses. I have said it is so, when I should have said this is what I am hearing. I have only in hind sight thought to say I could be wrong. Only in hind sight did I say your spirit gets to have the final say. I should have lead with that. I should always lead with that.

I know now, but it has cost me. I don’t like being someone else’s idol, even as I happily lapped up the authority placed before me. Some of that authority wasn’t mine to have, even if it was handed to me. I shouldn’t have picked it up. It burned me too.


I’ve handed off my own authority more times than I know, I’m sure. I’ve waited to be asked when I should have spoken up. I have refused to believe something about myself unless someone else told me, even if the Spirit has been speaking it to me since I was twelve. I have wanted more than the authority of the Spirit, singing to my own, to tell me things I already know.

I have given people who do not get to say, a say in who I am and what I do.

I have made authority an idol, when it fully belongs to God. I am learning about the sacred cows in my life. Those of attention and authority. Those of ego stroking and permission I don’t need. What is that thing I always sing with abandon when the church comes back to the classic hymns? It seems I have circled back there yet again.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

prone to leave the God I love;

here’s my heart, O take and seal it,

seal it for thy courts above.



12 thoughts on “On Authority and Idols

  1. “I have given people who do not get to say, a say in who I am and what I do.” Abby, I have done this more than I care to remember. What really matters is what God thinks, not what other people think God thinks. And I love that hymn you referred to. It’s one of my very favorites.

  2. Such a long learning process I have found. Learning to discern the voice of God and respond. Learning the difference between the voice of God and the voice of ‘man’ (I struggled with that for a long time). Learning to honour our own gifts and use them, not hide them away.

  3. So many truths here!! So many lessons we all need to learn, about leaning in and trusting the Holy Spirit and placing his truth above all others. About having faith in what he is saying. So good.

  4. That is one of my favorite hymns. And yes, so much of this post resonates with my own experience. Thank you for reminding me of what is true.

  5. Pingback: Happy Lights and Apple Picking: What I am Into September 2014 | Accidental Devotional

  6. Pingback: Blog Finds | The Friday Five - The Watered Soul

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s