Idols are like Weeds: They Grow Back

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COVID-19 has brought us face to face with many of our idols. As various elements of our lifestyle were wrangled away from us in varying degrees—sports, work, entertainment, shopping, leisure, to name a few—the stark reality of our addictions were exposed. The days and weeks unfolded and we were without our usual go-to’s when we felt stressed, lonely, bored, or anxious. Many of us were forced to deal with what was being revealed: We had an unhealthy dependence on them for sure, and loved them way too much.

Without any disregard for the disastrous, even deathly, effects of the Coronavirus, I personally believe this is one of the most beneficial, albeit unintended and probably unexpected, results of this pandemic. God has sovereignly and graciously given us increased opportunities to engage in things we know matter but were refusing to prioritize, such as dinner around the table, longer conversations with our families, made-up games in the basement, and extended personal time with God. Formerly, we chased things of apparent urgency. Now, we are recommitting to things of true importance. A revival of sorts is occurring in God’s people personally and corporately as he is dismantling the many things we were vainly worshiping.

Essentially, we’re witnessing the much-needed chopping down of our idols. The greatly-required uprooting of our little-g gods. Our soil is being plowed; the hard ground is being tilled. We are being pruned.

Yet, we must realize that idols are like weeds: they grow back. Unless we stay vigilant to guard our heart once the pandemic’s whirlwind has blown through, we will find the lawn of our life once again littered with the little trolls that steal our attention away from our true priorities. Other loves will again creep in as we revert to old habits built on worldly values. Our response in the aftermath of COVID-19 can’t be, “Okay, back to life as we knew it,” or else we will find ourselves under the siege of the same old idols that were so deceptively destroying us earlier. Those idols, like weeds, will grow back. And the yard God was beautifying will again be overgrown with the brutal briars of false deities. 

Here’s a hint: when we exit this pandemic, don’t exit the overgrown paths you’ve rediscovered and now cleared that have given rise to deeper intimacy with God and those around you. Be reluctant to commit to so many extra things that you take away time from essential things. Think twice about adding “one more to-do.” Don’t leave behind the new patterns you’ve had to embrace, the patterns that really aren’t new but simply revived. It’s in the garden of revival that idols, like weeds, won’t do what they love to do—grow once again.

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