Stripping Away the Idol of Identity

Stripping Away the Idol of Identity

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” Psalm 62:5

I am now single. That was excruciating to say after over thirty-five years. Worse, I’m a widower. I was Kim’s husband. I was a married man.

No more.

A huge part of my identity has been changed in an instant. One moment, I’m a blissfully married man. The next moment, I’m a single man, and thirty-five years of identity is altered.

I came face-to-face with the idolatry of identity.

“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:14

I wrote this entry some eighteen months ago. I had no idea my dad would join me on this unwanted journey the very week I released this entry from my journal. Fallout from the fall continues its march. This week, after nearly sixty-four years of blissful—and I do mean blissful—marriage, he lost his wife, my mother.

How easy it is for me—or any of us—to put hope in any other identity. Our jobs, our children, our family, our degrees, or our talents can be given more importance than is appropriate. A girlfriend, a boyfriend, or a spouse can take the place of God. Yes, anything or anyone can become an idol.

“For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.” Psalm 96:5

“When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them all off, a breath will take them away.” Isaiah 57:13

Like idols of old, anything that we embrace as a substitute for God in our lives will disappoint us. Our hope should be in God and in God alone. He alone is worthy of such honor and trust from us. Further, this tension is about worship. Do I worship the creature? R. C. Sproul has rightly warned us: “To worship the creature instead of the Creator is the essence of idolatry.”

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7

Our hope is in God; it is not in any other would-be idol. Nothing in our lives is worthy of being elevated to such a level of worship. I must refuse to be deceived, tricked, or tempted. Anything or anyone taking the place on the throne of God is an idol. We are to have no image ahead of God in our hearts.

“You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God…” Exodus 20:5

God is a jealous God, and he will not allow any god before him in our hearts. No other idol can be substituted for the worth of our God.

There are no other messiahs offering redemption but our God. No good things—job, spouse, children, gifts, skills, or possessions—can take that honored place in our lives. We place our faith in Christ, not in any other gift in our lives.

“…for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Galatians 3:26

I am a child of God. I am a creation of God. My identity is in him. My identity is not in any other aspect of my temporal life.

I must strip away the idol of identity.

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John‬ ‭5‬:‭21

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13


  1. Donna Murphy

    Thank you, D.Ray. Your posts always give me something to think about and remind myself about. Donna

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thanks for your comment, Donna. Grief and loss gave me a lot to think about and I’m passing it on.

  2. Wanda Arnold

    So sorry for the great loss of your mom. Prayers for you and your dad and family.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thank you, Wanda. We are so grateful.

  3. Slater

    Knowing my identity in Christ gives stability and confidence when life breaks. I am, like you, as you know, single and a widower. I haven’t got a good handle on that “new me”, but I am at rest in Christ. A verse from James 1 spoke this to me just last week. For the one who endures trials and testings, the perfect result is to be found lacking nothing. Holding on to Him who has taken hold of me. In Christ, real and true.

    Thanks for voicing reality so well D Ray.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thank you, Slater…still praying for you daily. What a great promise…lacking nothing.

  4. Andrew Limbaugh

    Thnx for sharing your heart D Ray. I cannot say I am blessed by your posts, but they do take me before the throne in thanksgiving for the blessings of having Angela for 41 years (May 24). I cannot imagine…

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thank you, Andrew. If you are grateful, then one of my purposes has been accomplished. Congratulations and I hope you celebrated!

  5. I have been praying for you since I learned of the loss of your mother. I too lost my mother and became my dad’s caregiver, his everything. He was battling two cancers at the same time and the Lord gave me two years with him before he went home too. I was a grieving widow watching my father follow the same journey…

    God is faithful, His mercies are new every day. May His peace cover you now.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thank you, Annette. Sometimes grief comes upon grief. And yet, my testimony is that he is indeed faithful with faithful every morning mercies and peace.

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