Published on March 15th, 2013 | by Nathaniel1
Idol Worship: Overcoming an Addiction to the Miss July Centerfold
“Thou shall not worship false idols.”
You know a post is about to be extra homemade vanilla ice-cream heavy when you start out with one of the Ten Commandments. One or two scoops of “misguided sinner”? Because the Ten Commandments were written so long ago and from an extremely historically contextual book of the bible, Exodus, it becomes easy to disregard this command as God just chastising the human race with “God talk.” I often approached this particular commandment thinking, “Well- duh, I’m a Believer so of course I don’t worship idols. Haha- God, you so funnnnnny!” But as I’ve grown in faith, I realize this is a commandment I have struggled and continue to struggle with, so much so, that it has meant recognizing the need to overcome an addiction.
Porn. Lust. Sex. Here’s a scoop of Rocky-Road for you! Enter the mother-dome of all controversial topics. Society says it’s all gravy- A okay. No, scratch that. Society doesn’t just say it’s okay; society says it’s not okay if you’re not “exploring your sexuality” in middle school. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, like most men, I was conditioned to exploit women- something I can now define as idol worship. Previous generations might recall getting hold of their father’s Playboy magazines and clipping the seductively positioned centerfolds. For this generation, it might mean having a hidden folder of porn websites on our computer- some of us have been so socially conditioned to believe that it’s so normal that our “hidden” folder might not even be “hidden.” Or maybe it’s perusing through the pages of a more innocent annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition or your wife’s/ girlfriend’s Victoria’s Secret catalogue- harmless right? Yeah, I thought so too. But no addiction is harmless. If something is not helping us, it’s hurting us and this addiction was hurting my relationship with God.
So when does addiction become idol worship? Well, an idol is something exalted as the pinnacle of ______ which becomes problematic because we as Believers are called to exalt God. And we can’t both exalt Miss July 2003 and exalt God at the same time. Why? One of the above contradicts what is said Matthew 5:28 that even looking at a woman lustfully is a sin. To a lot of people this sounds soooo legalistic. “There goes that Christian dude talking about what I can and what I can’t do. It’s my life and it’s normal to have sex with whomever or oogle over porn websites!” Right? Sound familiar? I know because I’ve been there! We don’t like people telling us what to do…especially when it comes to sexuality so as a result so many men and women allow their addictions or what they don’t want to admit as their addictions to cross multiply. This cross multiplication gets to a point where our scientific calculators can’t contain the magnitude of our addiction. Our need for porn or the visual stimulation of a video vixen then interferes with our relationships with our spouses, or even worse our search for spirituality. And sadly, that’s not enough for us some of us to break the habit or even admit that we are worshipping an idol- putting something or someone in the position where God should be. We continue to burden our back with the weight of guilt till the point that we become paralyzed by it.
While I’ve chosen to pinpoint sexual sin, idol worship can come in every shape, form, and color. For some people, idol worship means exalting food above God, famous people above God, family members above God, or material possessions above God. Anything that we put above God becomes our idol.
In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul breaks down how sexuality and idol worship are linked. In verse 13, however, he gives hope for anyone struggling with addiction, “But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different than what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give into it.”