Idols. The sentence seemed to jump off the page and smack me in the face. It was during my quiet time and I was reading in Psalm 115, that idols can’t see, hear, or help us, when I saw the next verse. When I put my trust in idols, I become like them. I become helpless, dumb, unable to see or hear, unfeeling. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about idols normally. Even though I know that an idol can be anything, I still think of small carved images when I hear the word ‘idol.’
Red Flags That Show an Idol in Your Life
The definition of idol in Webster’s is “an object of extreme devotion.” I don’t know about you, but just reading that definition is already making me squirm. Things in my life that I am extremely devoted to are just running through my head. Here are some ways to look at your life and decide if a belief or desire is idolatry.
A huge idol that God has been dealing with me about is my own comfort. Idols seem like they should be far removed from my life, yet they rear their ugly heads in the most unlikely places. Blogging is both easy and hard for me. On the one hand, I love to write, it comes easily to me as an introvert.
Getting my blog read on the other hand? Here is where my ‘but’ comes in. It’s way out of my comfort zone to put myself out there on social media and in conversation. I really believe that this blog is something that God called me to do though, so making it available to as many people as possible goes hand in hand with that.
God points out an action that would be to his glory. I feel his conviction about it and the first word in my head is ‘but.’ “But I’m an introvert.” “But that’s not my spiritual gift.” But. The word ‘but’ deflates God’s word in your life before you even have a chance to consider obedience. Allowing myself to say ‘but’ when I sense God speaking to my heart, causes me to be deaf towards his leading. It causes me to be unfeeling towards the person he is moving me to reach out to. It makes me a dull and unusable tool in his hands.
I’m not sure who first said that ‘delayed obedience is disobedience,’ but it is so true. Often when I find myself putting God off until ‘later,’ it is because of the influence of an idol. My selfishness and desire to keep my own comfort level come screaming back, and my sensitivity to his leading is numbed once again.
Each time I give one of my idols my devotion, it dulls my senses a little more. When I complain that God is asking me to do something that is not my spiritual gift, or I put off obedience for later I lose the sensation of conviction. Its why sin becomes easier with time. The first time I sin, I feel the instant uneasiness that goes with God’s presence in my life when I’m not living rightly. But over time the sensation dulls. When I continually push God’s voice to the side, it begins to stay there.
The Bible mentions idols 118 times, it mentions other gods 66. God knew that we would continually struggle with our devotion to him. A read through of 1 and 2 Kings tells over and over of kings who either fully embraced the pagan practice of sacrificing on the high places, or simply allowed the high places to remain in Israel.
In both cases, the mere presence of a location that exists for the purpose of worshiping another god, invites the people to turn away from the true God. It may strike us as foolish to serve the sun or moon as gods, instead of the one who created them, but do you serve money instead of the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills? I can serve the idol of job security, or I can witness to a coworker at God’s prompting. Each choice I make that doesn’t expressly put God first in my life, opens me up to idol worship.
Now I have to decide whether I will tear down the high places in my life today. I can either serve the idols they represent. I can leave the high places and keep them in the corner of my eye while I pay lip service to God. Or I can tear them down, rip them from the ground they are planted on and give my whole devotion to God.
Update: This post has gotten such an amazing response! Thank you to everyone who has emailed or commented! If you are struggling with an idol in your life, the number one thing I recommend is to spend time with God’s Word. The Bible is clear that in the absence of actively following God, we will actively follow and idol. If you aren’t sure how to study the Bible, please check out my free course- How to Study the Bible.