I will not make an idol of anyone (especially spouse or children) or anything (project, title, degree, accomplishment).
Deuteronomy 4:23 NLT
So be careful not to break the covenant the Lord your God has made with you. Do not make idols of any shape or form, for the Lord your God has forbidden this.
Romans 1:25 NIV
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
God, thank you for the covenant of love that you’ve made with us that is for our good. Forgive us for the ways we do not hold up our end, as we make idols in any and every shape, even though you’ve told us not to do so.
Oh Lord, we’re so clueless about the ways we make idols in our modern-day world. Forgive us!
Really, nothing has changed since the moment you spun the world into being and made us in your image.
How easily we exchange the truth about you for a lie. We worship and serve our created things and even the things you’ve created, instead of you, our Creator. Forgive us for doing this unknowingly. Open our eyes to see more clearly, so that we may change our ways and crush the stronghold of idolatry through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus.
In the Strong Name of Jesus, Amen.
What do you think a modern-day idol looks like? Are you imagining turning a corner and coming upon a golden calf? Or do you think of idolatry more in the form of a kind of worship for those who are not Christ-followers?
Idolatry is simply the worship of anyone or anything more than God.
Honestly, I didn’t know I had an idolatry issue until I stumbled about a sermon series years ago. I was so shocked and alarmed at the reality God was revealing to me. How could I, a Bible believing Christian be caught in the snare of idolatry? Maybe you’re wondering the same.
At face value, it might be hard to discern if idolatry is a sin issue for you. I’d hedge a bet it is because I’ve never met a person who doesn’t struggle in the worship of someone or something other than God. The way that it will manifest in each of our lives is different. For me, my issue of idolatry is around productivity. It’s more important to me to “get ‘er done” than to consider the needs of those I’m called to love well and serve authentically. Can you relate?
My finished “to do” list full of creative projects is indeed my idol because it robs time from worshipping God and heeding His commands to enjoy rest and fellowship. Feeling good about what I’ve finished is more important than pleasing the God who made my hands and mind and heart to serve Him. At least, that’s how it was until I came to see the root sin of idolatry. Since then, I’ve learned how to walk the tender road of confession and repentance, asking God to change the motives of my heart.
There is a litmus test to figure out if you’re trapped in idolatry.
The clue is your reaction when that “thing” or “person” is messed with. What do I mean “messed with”? Well, what’s the irritation level in your soul if you have to let go of that thing you’ve set your heart and mind on to focus on in order to meet a need for someone or something else?
If work is your idol, how do you react when you need to “leave early” to tend to a family matter?
If your family is your idol, how do you handle life when your family members aren’t conforming to your expectations for how they ought to treat you or behave?
If your children are your idol, how do you react towards God at the threat of a health crisis or life-alternating event that could harm them forever?
If your house is your idol, how do you respond to your family when they make a mess of it?
If material things are your idol, how do you handle matters when you don’t have the finances to buy that thing you want right now?
If fitness is your idol, what is your attitude when you can’t work out?
If time is your idol, what do you do when someone requires something of you that interrupts your schedule?
If your reputation is your idol, how do you respond to being misunderstood?
If your credentials are your idol, how many more degrees and certifications do you need to get to be good enough?
If being liked is your idol, how much more do you need to do get more followers?
In other words, when God doesn’t conform life to your plans, desires, and expectations, how do you respond?
Are you spitting mad or able to surrender to His purposes?
If our heart’s cry is ‘Only, You God!’, we’re in a position to battle against the pull of idolatry.
It’s when we give up that singular focus that we find ourselves at the doorway to idolatry, and one step away from sin. But the good news is that in Christ, we’ve been given the opportunity to seek God’s forgiveness, move forward in repentance, and experience total transformation as we yield our desires to the Lord’s leading.
How do you think this matter of idolatry has impacted your relationship with God and others? What step do you need to take with the Lord to tackle the thing that tempts you to make it into an idol?
To continue this journey of living brave and inviting the next generation to join you in the journey, get a copy of Brave Together: A Conversation Starter for Cultivating Biblical Mentoring Relationships.
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