Idols aren’t just made of stone and wood. They’re more often built of appeals to personal identity. It’s the self that most often gets worshiped. (Little wonder that most idols built of wood and stone look at least somewhat human.)
Identity in America is the highest achievement, our call to be who we are on purpose. We make decisions based on nothing more than “this is just who I am.” What we feel is who we are, and others must accept this personal assessment. It has become our highest law.
But this kingdom of self puts us in direct conflict with the Kingdom of God. In His Kingdom, self is subverted for a new identity in Christ. We have to put aside what we feel about ourselves and take up what He says about us. It’s the hardest thing we’ll ever do because it means giving up our “rights” as independent humans, but also the easiest because Jesus did all the work
Giving up ourselves means putting aside everything we feel about who we are: sexual identities, desires, political causes, and even dreams. We can take none of that with us into God’s Kingdom because the empire of self has no place there.
When we won’t give those things up, we’re clinging to our idols more than clinging to God.