Honey Bear: Identifying the Idols in Our Lives

Most of us wouldn’t think twice about a honey bear.

And, likewise, most of us are familiar with the Biblical account of the golden calf the Israelites worshiped, just before Moses arrived with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 32:1-35). Impatient as they were, waiting for the blessings to hit their lives, they concluded if they created their own visible god, they’d be happier and finally have their dreams.

Eh… not so fast…

And that brings me to the innocuous honey bear. At first glance, I’d never view it as an idol. As a child, I remember it was there with the maple syrup and the strawberry jam, sitting on my family’s kitchen table. That’s all.

But, as I spiraled into my eating disorders, as I reached the paralyzing lows of anorexia and frantic desperation of bulimia, I turned to an off the wall strategy: the honey bear, or more specifically, arts and crafts with the honey bear.

Please bear (pun intended) with me.

As I was struggling with my eating disorders, painful issues and stressors on full blast, I had the idea to distract myself. Yes, that was my answer. If I could just keep myself occupied enough, I’d be okay.

So, after my college classes, I turned to a honey bear I emptied on one of my recent binges. I thought I’d do something creative with it and keep myself busy. I decided to spray paint the bear gold. That’s right, gold.

And, over time, that gold bear turned into several. I remember one Saturday, when my roommate’s boyfriend dropped by, the confused reaction as he saw me on the newspaper-covered floor, with at least ten honey gold honey bears drying out around me.

Just another college girl, huh?

I truly believed if I created enough of these artsy crafty gold bears, my problems would go away; I could be happy. I was desperate… and horribly wrong. I was no different than the calf worshiping Israelites, believing their created idol would answer their lives with happily ever after.

And then that didn’t happen. It was never the answer.

You’ve probably never spray painted a honey bear, but you’ve reached for something: alcohol, drugs, relationships, achievements, for example.

All are idols of some sort, because all of these attempts try to replace God in our lives. And He’s quite clear how He thinks about that approach:

“You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself a graven image,
or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above,
or that is in the earth beneath,
or that is in the water under the earth;
you shall not bow down to them or serve them;
for I the Lord your God am a jealous God,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children
to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
but showing steadfast love to thousands of those
who love me and keep my commandments.”
Exodus 20:3-6

Years later, I see the futility and the insanity, believing my focus on the honey bear’s seeming artistic possibilities were the “cure” to my anorexia, bulimia and pain. I kept looking in the wrong direction.

“Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.” Judges 10:14

What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. Habakkuk 2:18-19

And isn’t that really what addiction is, in the context of idolatry? The wrong direction?

Meanwhile, there is a RIGHT direction- and a RIGHT God…

My flesh and my heart faileth:
but God is the strength of my heart,
and my portion for ever.
Psalms 73:26

But it is good for me to draw near to God:
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
that I may declare all thy works.

Psalms 73:28

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me. Isaiah 46:9

And there’s God’s response to our lives, struggles, addictions and disorders…

He sent his word, and healed them,
and delivered them from their destructions.
Psalms 107:20

To what are you seeking your deliverance? Is it your version of the honey bear or is it God? Idolatry of any kind never works. God, however, does. Let’s choose Him for our lives.

It bears considering now, doesn’t it?