Love Me Tender is a sweet Christian fiction romance story by Janice Hanna. The book takes place during 1957 when the song “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley was first released.
The story is about 20-year-old Debbie Carmichael who works at her family’s soda shop in Laguna Beach, California. Debbie has the idea of hosting a fundraiser to pay off the soda shop’s debt, and she asks the newest teenage heartthrob Bobby Conrad to preform.
Debbie, like every other teenage girl, is starstruck by the handsome new singer/actor Bobby Conrad. Think of him as the 1950s equivalent to Zac Efron or Nick Jonas. Throughout the story, various girls talk constantly about their dreams of meeting Bobby Conrad, singing with him, falling in love with him, or marrying him.
At a significant part of the story, Debbie’s father asks her to think about whether or not she is idolizing Bobby Conrad. She begins to feel uncomfortable but rationalizes her feelings by saying that inviting him to do a fundraiser isn’t idolizing him.
Debbie’s father replies with this:
“We’ve all done it to one extent or another. But before you go chasing after the most popular or the most famous, check your heart, okay? Make sure the only one you’re chasing after—and I truly mean this—is the One who created that person with all of the talent and ability.” — Love Me Tender by Janice Hanna
Have you ever idolized someone? Have you ever “chased” after your favorite actor or singer?
Debbie and her friends were consumed with the thought of their favorite Hollywood stars. They talked about them every chance they got, they thought about them, and they dreamed of meeting them or falling in love.
Debbie’s father reminded her who her conversations and thoughts should be focused on: the One who created those stars. Just like Debbie’s father, our Heavenly Father reminds us through His Word that we are to focus on Him, the Creator, and not the creation.
What Does the Bible Say About Idols?
With the first two of the ten commandments, God tells us two important things about idols. He tells us in Exodus not to put anything or anyone above Him in our lives, and He tells us not to worship idols (Exodus 20:3-6).
There’s nothing wrong with having a favorite singer or a favorite actor. The problem is when we focus on them and idolize them. If they draw our words, thoughts, and actions away from God, we have made them into idols.
Idolizing someone isn’t limited to Hollywood stars though. You could idolize someone in your life like a boyfriend or girlfriend. We can also idolize things like our job, hobby, or sport. If our relationships and things in our lives take our thoughts and time away from God, then we’ve made those things into idols too.
Little children, guard yourselves from idols. — 1 John 5:21
John writes in his letter about how we as Christians can know and have confidence in our salvation and faith in Christ. Verse 20 says, “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” Jesus gave us understanding so we may know Him, the one true God. Any other god we create for ourselves is nothing more than an idol, which we are told to guard ourselves against.
You can spend all your time, energy, and thoughts focused on your favorite singer. You can spend every spare second playing video games or taking selfies. You can let your relationships steal you away from time studying the Bible or praying for those people. You can make those things or people your idols and break the first and second commandment. You can break God’s law. And in the end, those things won’t really satisfy you anyway.
Jesus gave us understanding so that we may know Him, the true God. Are we spending our time focused on the true God or focused on our idols?
Your sister in Christ,