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I've been moving a BBC radio drama version of "The Lord of the Rings" from audio cassette to CD for some special friends of mine.

As the tapes are those cheap opaque plastic kind, I'm having to monitor some of them for squeaks.  Because of that, I've become, well, re-acquainted with the story, which I'd read once before.

Now, I'm not a raving fan of LOTR, but I did enjoy it.  I don't like the spells, incantations, and wizardry used for "good," but that's not what I'm writing about here.

No.  Indeed, though I am loth to speak of it, I am writing about the Ring of Doom.

A ringing telephone

No.  Not that.  I mean the one ring of power.  You see, while I was listening to the radio drama, I heard Frodo, Bilbo, Boromir, and (oh, of course) Gollum in the moments when desire for the Ring took control of them.  But what I saw in my head was the way any one of us acts when something comes between us and our idols (or addictions - same thing).

Lemon pie.  Plush sofas.  Designer T-shirts.  That new smartphone from a company that shall go unnamed.  Some hot new video game.  Some man or woman we're in, um, infatuation with.  Cold beer.  Free time.  Right pronunciation of some tricky word.  Being right in an argument.  Being right in church.

How about the fuel economy on a '93 Mercury Villager?

Green '93 Mercury Villager

"Can we have some AC back here as soon as we get going?"

"In a moment!"

"... Did you turn the AC on yet?"

"No, I've got it."

"Here, I'll help you; you're driving."

"NO!  You can't have it!  I'm the driver and that adversely affects performance, precious, so we wants to turn it on ourselves, yes, when we knows precious 19.1 MPG won't be angry!"

18.0 MPG on a '93 Villager


"...Nasty, wicked traffic-lightses!  We hates it!  We hates it forever!"

"Ash nazg gurgle bubble,
Piston 5 is having trouble..."

"NO!  The driver's seat!  It's mine!  Give it to me!  You'll floor the pedal and RUIN THE FUEL ECONOMYYYYYYY!"

Okay, so I really didn't say any of that.  But I'm ashamed to confess that there was a little of that going on in my mind.

You see?  The One Ring makes for a gripping fantasy story, and we want to leave it there in the fantasy section of the library for the next time we want a good read.  But it doesn't stay there.  It hits home right here, right now, in our lives every day.  And it's scary.  Because there are people who never intended to be controlled by money who've become more evil, more deceitful, than Saruman.  There are people who never intended to be controlled by alcohol who've become more wretched than Gollum.  And those are just a few possibilities.

They may have started out good, moral, law-abiding folks.  They may have started out church-raised, Bible-quoting Christians.  But, just as you know a tree by its fruit, you can know what someone loves by his or her actions.  What we love will control what we do.

In Philippians 3:18 and 19, we learn that those who set their hearts and minds on the things of this world become enemies of God.  The end result of that is nasssty, cruuuel, wicked, preciousssss...  Wait, go back to that verse.  The end result is destruction.  Cracks of Doom, anyone?

What about loving God?  Well, to see the end result of God's kind of love (and to see how He loves you), get your Bible and read 1 Corinthians 13.

That's what He'll do in your heart if you give it to Him.  It's the complete opposite of the One Ring.

So - love God.  Set your heart wholly on Him.  Ask Him for more love to love Him with.

Think about it.  Is there any thing (other than minivan fuel economy) that's been like the One Ring to you?

<- Idols It's a New Year - and I'm Back ->


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