Pristine Grace

These Difficulties!
by J.C. Philpot
These Difficulties!

"From all your idols will I cleanse you." - Ezekiel 36:25

    When there are no crosses, temptations, or trials, a man is sure to go out after and cleave to idols. It matters not what experience he has had. If once he ceases to be plagued and tried, he will be setting up his household gods in the secret chambers of his heart. Profit or pleasure, self-indulgence or self-gratification, will surely, in one form or another, engross his thoughts, and steal away his heart. Nor is there anything too trifling or insignificant to become an idol. Whatever is meditated on preferably to God—whatever is desired more than He—whatever more interests us, pleases us, occupies our waking hours, or is more constantly in our mind— becomes an idol, and a source of sin. It is not the magnitude of the idol, but its existence as an object of worship—that constitutes idolatry. I have seen some 'Burmese idols' not much larger than my hand—and I have seen some 'Egyptian idols' weighing many tons. But both were equally idols—and the comparative size had nothing to do with the question.

    So spiritually, an idol is not to be measured by its size, or its relative importance or non-importance. A flower may be as much an idol to one man, as a chest full of gold to another. If you watch your heart, you will see idols rising and setting all day long, nearly as thickly as the stars by night. But God sends trials, difficulties, temptations, besetments, losses, afflictions, to pull down these idols—or rather to pull away our hearts from them. These difficulties pull us out of fleshly ease—make us cry for mercy— pull down all rotten props—hunt us out of false refuges—and strip us of vain hopes and delusive expectations.