At that point I tried another tack. I asked, “Suppose just for sake of discussion, that God does say that the choice that you are making is contrary to his will. I’m not asking you to concede the point. I just want you to consider a question if it were true that your chosen lifestyle is sinful. The question is, “if God commanded you not to pursue this life, would you do as he says?” My friend refused to entertain the question. He insisted that it was not a fair question because it assumed a point he did not accept. I reiterated that I was not asking him for the moment to agree with me. I was merely asking him to consider what he would do if my position were correct. He still refused to entertain the question. He never did answer it.
In Denis de Rougemont’s Passion and Society he wrote about sensual love saying, “it ceases to be a devil when it ceases to be a god.” To many today sexual expression is a god. It rules. Unfortunately they then must also refuse to admit the devilish damage their “god” causes in their lives. Rougemont’s statement could be an indictment of our entire society. When anything becomes more important to us than obeying God it has indeed become an idol. In so doing it becomes a devil and it will create havoc in our lives and in the lives of others.
Such idolatry is not limited to sexuality. I know a young man whose life is being twisted and distorted because what is most important to him is music. Being a “rock star” is far more important to him than knowing God, and the results in his life are not pretty. C. S. Lewis said, “when I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now…when first things are put first second things are not suppressed but increased.”
It’s a lot easier to see the idols in the lives of other people than it is to identify our own. We all have them to one degree or another. It is good to remember that those idols in fact are devils, warping and distorting our lives, and that they will continue to do so until they cease being “gods” in our hearts. It is only when God has first place in our hearts that we will be at peace. How desperately we need recognize our idols and let go of them.