Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
How is that we get so enamored by things? By keeping them close and always looking to them. How is it that our hearts are captured by one who is not our Lord? We’ve allowed ourselves to adore them. How is it that we can continue on in some sinful practice that is displeasing to God? We’ve turned away from Him and dared not look to see the disapproving look in His eye. What is repentance at its core but simply turning around. And if there are things in our lives that ought not be there, we just need to stop looking at them, stop focusing on them, and stop adoring them. We need to turn and walk away from them and not let our hearts crave to return to them.
We get idols in our lives in the first place because they meet some need that we have, some desire, some longing. No matter how temporary the satisfaction, the fact that it is there at all can cause us to keep going back to something that is ultimately unfulfilling or even harmful. So maybe it sounds easy to say that we can just turn around and walk away from something that somehow matters to us even if it shouldn’t. But maybe in reality it’s very hard to even take that first step. Maybe we’ve tried before to turn from something only to find ourselves right back at it.
But God is giving a command to His people. He requires obedience and righteousness and holiness. He requires us to forsake some things. So ultimately it comes down to choice. And when we finally recognize that our powerlessness to leave behind our idols comes, ultimately, from our pride and our desire simply to have our own way above anything else, it can break the hold that our idols have over us. When we’re willing to submit to God instead of our fleshly desires, then He enables us to walk away.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, it is so freeing to surrender everything to God. It is easy to worship a false idol because it doesn’t require very much of us in the moment, but ultimately the cost we pay is very high. But when we worship God and refuse to allow anything to come before Him in our lives, when we’ve completely turned away from every abomination, the kinds of things He fills our lives with are so much greater than we could have ever imagined. No matter what it was that once drew us away, let us forsake it and look only to our Lord and Savior.