“Idle” chatter usually describes a conversation of random thoughts about nothing in particular. You know the kind of talk you might have with a friend over the phone after you have already spent the day together and don’t really have anything else to say. Idle chatter can also be that forced conversation with a talkative stranger at the airport. Idle chatter is usually meaningless talk – just filling the moments of potential silence.
But we don’t want to waste your time talking about meaningless things. Let’s change the spelling of the phrase and chat about idols. Our “Idol Chatter” will hopefully open your eyes to the idols in your life that fill your life with meaningless pursuits that pull you away from your personal relationship with Christ.
An idol is not something new to reality television, but you can draw some comparisons to shows like “American Idol.” If you are a fan of “American Idol,” I bet we can name some people that you can quickly identify: Simon, Paula Abdul, Kelly Clarkson, Danny Gokey. As a fan, you probably either plan things around the time the show airs or you tape the show to watch it later. Chances are that you have spent some time voting online, and you might even have an American Idol superstar’s CD in car or on your iPod. If “American Idol” is important to you, then you probably make the show a priority. You probably think about the show, investigate the latest scoop, and talk with your friends about the show. An idol is something that is adored blindly and excessively, and a television show can even become an idol.
The prophet Hosea warned the ancient Hebrews of the idolatry in their lives. While they didn’t have television shows to adore, there were things that pulled them away from God. The message in Hosea 2:13 indicates that Israelites burned incense to the Baals (a term used for other gods), decked themselves with excessive outside adornments, and forgot about God. God’s hope for the Israelites was that they would return to him and establish a right relationship with Him. If they would make the commitment, God would cleanse them from their idolatrous relationships and would give them the security or significance they were looking for (Hosea 2:17-20). After all… in most cases, idol worship is something that we use to try to bring us security in one way or another.
Where do you measure in on the issue of idols in your life? If you don’t watch “American Idol,” you aren’t off the hook yet. There are many idols that become obsessions in teenagers’ lives. Check out these top nine teenage idols and see how many are pulling your thoughts away from God and your energy away from serving Him.
- Popular Television Shows – Okay, we talked about “American Idol,” but let’s consider any show that you watch on a daily or weekly basis that pulls you away from your quiet time with God. Are you more likely to skip your quiet time or your favorite show?
- Must-have Clothing – What matters most is what is in your heart – not what’s covering your body (although your body needs to be covered). Do you spend more time building your wardrobe or building Christ’s kingdom by sharing your faith?
- Electronic Overload – Computers, hand-held digital games, and other electronics can steal your time faster than you can flip a switch. Are you more likely to plug into a game or plug into God’s Word each day?
- Boyfriend/Girlfriend Must Haves – Some teenagers search for security in relationships with those of the opposite sex. Emotional energy and time are spent trying to “catch” the right person. Warning – worldly relationships will never give you the lasting security and significance that you will find in your personal relationship with Christ. Do you love Christ more than you love being in a dating relationship?
- Twitter-Fandom and False Relationships – Do you find that you are caught in a fantasy world trying to gain followers from a trendy “group” of teens who seem to be on Twitter 24/7. Really? So you believe these relationships are lasting and something to chase after? What about people in your community you could be hanging out with in person to grow together through discipleship or to lead that person to Christ.
- Honor Roll Passion – While your grades are important, do you get as upset with yourself when you don’t follow through with an act of ministry as you do when you get a “less-than-A” grade on a test? There are things in life that matter more than a 4.0 GPA.
- Sports Fan-a-Mania – You don’t have to be an athlete to be a sports fan. You don’t have to travel far into a fan’s room, locker, or conversation to see and hear what is important to him. Are you as excited to talk to a friend about becoming a Christian, as you are to talk about your favorite team?
- Extracurricular Activities – What happens when you get out of school? Some teens spend hours at dance or karate class in the evenings perfecting an art. Again, these activities are important in your development as a well-rounded individual, but if there is an obsession that steals from your relationship with God – you have an idol on your hands.
- Friendships – Friends can fill very important roles in your life, but your identity is not determined by your friendships. Your friendships will come and go as you travel through life. Few of your junior high and high school friends will remain close friends throughout your life. The only friendship worthy of an obsession is your relationship with Christ. He is the only one to provide you with the significance and security you desire.
- Money/Material Possessions – Do you constantly want more “stuff?” Material possessions will never satisfy your desires. Satisfaction in life is due to feeling content in knowing who you are in Christ – not in selling yourself a bill of goods that more “stuff” buys you happiness. What are you trying to store up for yourself – more earthly treasures or more heavenly treasures?
So how do you get rid of those things that take your focus and time away from the things that God would have you focused on?
- Do a self-inventory. Determine if your time, thoughts and focus have been too obsessive in any of the above areas?
- Admit to yourself and to God that you need to return to a right relationship with him. Find a right balance in your life between the obsessive idol in your life and your relationship with God.
- Make changes. Share your plan with a parent or friend in order to have support in managing your plan to oust your idols.
> Joy Emery