Idols – we all have them… we just may not realize it. Idols are anything or anyone which takes precedence over our relationship with God. And yes, I have them, too. We tend to see the obvious idols in the “things” we clutch closely… especially that which we enjoy doing or collecting – like our hobbies, collectable antiques, our “toys,” and even people. They fill a void within us and give us an emotional high… for a while. None of these are evil in and of themselves, but it’s where and how we put the emphasis on them that makes the difference.
An idol can also be to whom or where we run when we’re dealing with a problem, rather than turning first to our Lord in prayer. How often don’t we fret and worry, feel sorry for ourselves, and take our pain or loss to nurture it and feed it with a selfish pity party. Once again, I’ve been there and stand guilty.
Coddling our idols is also an easy trap to fall into. We want what we deserve, and we deserve the best! Or so we think… But that philosophy is misguided, for there is only One who deserves our best. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV) And I admit I am not able to unequivocally meet these godly expectations.
After writing this poem in 2015, and editing it, I re-read it in its entirety … and nearly burst into tears… for many reasons. First, because the words touched my heart deeply for their depth of truth. I firmly believe God gives me the words, and each poem is a moving emotional experience while writing, though some more so than others.
And second, I wondered why the words for a happy, joyful, praise-filled poem wasn’t coming to mind. Why did the words that flowed from my brain and out through my fingers once again contemplate our sin?
As I verbalized these thoughts to my husband, Ed, he said, “But your poem is the story of our lives. We are sinners, and God does take us from rags to glory. And that really is something to be writing praises about!”
It’s often felt or said that Christians talk too much about sin. Yet, knowing that the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:23 that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, it is then we begin to understand that acknowledging we really do sin in so many ways is key. For in that understanding, it’s also reassuring to know that when we go to God and “…confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).
What a blessing to trust in a faithful Lord who isn’t offended by our wayward feet. He simply loves us deeply while drawing us back to Himself… no matter our sins, our tattered rags… as He washes us clean!
From Rags to Glory
Linda A. Roorda
When someday I stand before You, my Lord
What will You see of my earthly life?
Will You see rags, the tatters of sin
Or will I be cleansed, washed pure by the Lamb?
Yet for a while we proudly proclaim
My will! My way! The cry of our hearts.
We live a life in defense of self
To gain the best this world can offer.
A sense of pleasure in idols we make
To soothe our hurts and meet our desires.
But what we crave in comforts and perks
Cannot appease the soul’s deepest need.
Then what will fill this void in my soul?
What could ever control all my steps?
Could it be true that Your word speaks clear
To guide and direct feet that stray from You?
Help me to leave the past behind,
Help me to walk with You at my side.
Guide all my thoughts, my words and my deeds
Create in me a heart of pure love.
For there is nothing I could ever do
That Your greatest gift won’t cover with peace
As long as humbly I seek you in faith
And with contrition gain mercy and grace.
As You draw me near with welcoming arms
To embrace Your child with a love divine
I see the filth of sin’s tattered rags
Fall gently away for a gleaming white robe.