In gods at war Idleman offers a jewel of a metaphor for idolatry. In describing “the god of family” he observes that we are called to honor our parents, but are called to worship God. We are to love our children but only God is worth of worship. He describes this as a “top-button” truth:
“Sometimes I’m in a hurry in the morning and I button my shirt all wrong… Like everyone else, I take it from the top. I push that top button through the slot on the other side, except that, in my haste, I choose the wrong slot. I don’t recognize my mistake until I get to the bottom and realize everything is out of line.” (gods at war, p209)
This is what idolatry often looks like. We don’t get the top-button right (worshipping God) and so the rest of our loves, which might be legitimate in and of themselves, are out of place. Get that first button right – reserve worship for God alone – and all of our other loves line up.