Idolatry is a problem today. I know that it sounds Old Testament, and that Christians don’t have this problem, but we do. An idol is anything that we worship apart from God. This could be our smart phones, a sports team, a loved one, it could be anything that we put above our need for God.
Idols don’t always start out as a bad thing. Idols start with our desires. A few examples would be like desiring to have a good marriage, or desiring to advance at work. These are not bad desires. It’s when these desires turn into demands that they become idols: “I demand that I have a good marriage,” or “I demand to advance at work.” When those demands aren’t met expectation are put up and we start to judge: “Well my husband/wife isn’t putting forth enough effort,” or “I could do better at that job than her.” Then when those expectations aren’t met, we punish those around us.*
It’s easy for our desires to become idols in our lives. It’s how you combat them and keep them as desires rather than allowing them to take over your life. I have a problem with making my fiancé an idol. I put serving, loving, and being with him over God a lot of the time. This past weekend I realized that my desire to serve, love, and be with him was stronger than my desire to serve, love, and be with Christ. I had made my fiancé bigger than my God.
Idolatry is serious. In Galatians 5:19-21 it says “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (emphasis mine). So to combat idolatry, we must do what it says to do in Colossians 3:5 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
This is a hard one to swallow, and a hard subject to talk about. It’s difficult to put into words, and sometimes hard to recognize. This month I challenge you to do some serious soul searching, and put to death your idols. Will you take the dare? Will you believe?
Identify Your Idols:**
1. What am I preoccupied with? (What is the first thing on my mind in the morning and/or the last thing at night?)
2. How would I fill in the blank?: If only ______, then I would be happy, fulfilled, and secure.
3. What do I want to preserve or avoid at any cost?
4. Where do I put my trust?
5. What do I fear?
6. When a certain desire is not met, do I feel frustration, anxiety, resentment, bitterness, anger, or depression?
7. Is there something I desire so much that I am willing to disappoint or hurt others to have it?
*The progression of an idol was taken from Ken Sande’s book The Peace Maker p. 102-108.
**Taken from Ken Sande’s book The Peace Maker p. 115.