Let’s take all the fluff off from idolatry and paste it into what it looks like in today’s world:
By Mary DeMuth
What is an idol?
- Setting your heart on something other than God.
- Something other than God that you must have to be happy.
- Anything that captures your imagination more than God does.
- Anything you seek outside of God that only God can give.
- Something that “makes my life” have meaning; “give value”; “makes me significant and secure”.
- Something you can’t live without or imagine your life without.
Determining your idols. Ask yourself:
- What is operating in the place of Jesus as your salvation or savior?
- What are you most afraid of?
- What is the worst thing that could ever happen to you? Be honest.
- What worries keep you up at night?
- What area is it most hard to control your spending?
- How do you react when disappointment comes?
- What are your most uncontrollable emotions?
- What must you have at any cost?
- Love, romance
- Invincibility, risk taking, thrill seeking
- Something tangible to point to that shows worth: a building, a ministry, a house, a car, a promotion, a successful hobby, an empire, a business, a perfect family
- Exploitation of others, or allowing yourself to be exploited
- Appearing or being better than someone else, needing to be right
- Athletics (either playing or following)
- Peer approval, people pleasing
- Money, prosperity (conversely: austerity, poverty)
- Work, workaholism
- Looks, body image, beauty, getting or being in shape, being thin
- Power, demanding respect
- Avoidance (of enemies, criticism, uncomfortable situations)
- Control (your children, your world, your life, your job, your relationships)
- Reputation, critical acclaim, achievement
- Stability, safety, security, lack of change, lack of suffering
- Peace, lack of conflict
- Relationships, family, friends (harmony)
- Favorable political climate (your party in power, the laws you like passed)
- Success (work, ministry, parenting, relationships, sports, etc.)
- Knowledge, education
- Competence, skill
- Morality, perfectionism, virtue, personal piety
- Addictions (porn, shopping, alcohol, food, drugs, video games, approval)
- Art, creative expression, music
- Entertainment, recreation, vacation, sloth, lethargy
“Idolatry is always the reason we ever do anything wrong.” Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods
Romans 1:24-25 (NLT) So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.
My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side!
I praise God for what he has promised;
yes, I praise the LORD for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?
I will fulfill my vows to you, O God,
and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
For you have rescued me from death;
you have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
in your life-giving light.
What else helps you identify and remove idols from your life?