Idolatry: The Secret Sin of the Heart
Our conscience is the first tip-off. Do we have freedom in our conscience to indulge in whatever we’re doing? Do we have regret after indulging in it? Most people can sense when they’ve crossed a line. Sometimes we blur those lines due to repetitive use of something as an escape—we can grow callous to what we’re doing. And what started as a coping mechanism becomes so much a part of life that it works itself into our identity. Then we don’t even see anymore that it is an escape, and we’re trapped.
God is so kind, however—He doesn’t leave us trapped. He’ll send the Holy Spirit to nudge our conscience. He’ll let consequences come as a result of illicit escapes. Everybody has those, whether other people know about them or not. Everybody’s got some way of coping with their bad feelings—television, internet, food, drugs, drinking, sex—and then we try to manage and minimize these coping mechanisms so they don’t take over our lives. We use them to ease us through a difficult hour or two, but it doesn’t work for very long, and it definitely doesn’t solve anything. It may make us feel better for a little while, but it’s no solution.
We will only find a solution if we (1) acknowledge that we’re escaping, and (2) are willing to look away from those means of escape to examine ourselves and ask, “What is it I’m running from and what am I afraid of?” Then you take it to the Lord (and perhaps to another person) and listen to His response.