Over the past few months, culminating last night, God has shown me the cost of idolatry.
I've been involved in a project fuelled with passion, something completely absorbing. One of those things that get you real excited... keep you up at night thinking... make you feel that this is what you were born to do.
In other words, an idol.
I didn't realise this until it all fell apart. And in the heart-searching process in the midst of the fallout, I realised that idolatry feels good. Otherwise we wouldn't build idols, because we humans do what feels good.
As with many profound things, it sounds so amazingly simple in the light of day, but it's another thing to go through a disintegrative kind of experience to find out. A sort of mini-meltdown.
So, last night at church, God made me aware of what I'd been doing - not putting Him first. Not in an accusing, condemning way. But very definitely.
He deserves first place in absolutely every area of my life. And anything less than that is ... idolatry.
I also realised there is nothing casual about my relationship with God. Yes, He is the only One with whom I can be completely myself, yes, I am like a helpless child in His strong arms. But effort is required on my part to take what He gives me and live it out in this world, this creation that goes contrary to His way. The present world darkness that "kicks against the goads".
I'm back on the dentist's chair, realising that even though this world sounds very moral, sensible and impartial, we are either in rebellion against God, or not.
I'm on His side again.