Idols are a tricky thing. Have you ever wondered what exactly is an idol? They’re not just golden calves! The truth is, idols are a matter of the heart. Tim Keller defines idols in his book ‘Counterfeit Gods’ as good things that we take and turn into ultimate things, things more important than God. I like this definition because it reminds us what an idol truly is. It is not necessarily a specific object (though it could be) but rather something that is more valuable to us than God. And God takes all idols seriously, just see the first two commandments in Exodus 20:3-6.
What are my idols?
We know placing something above God in our lives is bad, whether it’s a favourite TV show, a celebrity, being popular, money or something else. But how do we figure out what our individual idols are? This is challenging because sometimes they creep up on us, and if it is a good thing it can be hard to see when it becomes your new false god.
Maybe your love of people has become a desire for approval, which leads you to avoid sharing your faith with others? Or maybe your goal to achieve a personal best in sport becomes a need to beat everyone even if it hurts others and consumes all your time? Essentially idolatry occurs when something becomes more important than God.
If you are wondering what you idolise, think about:
What do you spend your time, energy, thoughts and money?
What takes you away from serving God and loving others?
What do you prioritise over growing in your faith?
Ask God to show you what your idols are and invite him to help you overcome them.
Ask for help
God gives us the responsibility to deal with our idolatry. We should be actively fighting our idols and placing God first in our lives. But you can’t rely on your own strength to overcome your idols. Instead, rely on the resources God has given you, by reading His word, praying to Him and seeking support and counsel from fellow Christians. You can always come before God in prayer and repent. Ask for forgiveness and for a renewed heart, so you can place Him in the centre of your life.
Remember God is at work
Idols are things we continue to battle with as Christians. Once you deal with one, another comes up! God takes idols very seriously. Throughout the bible, God punishes those who are guilty of idolatry. However, don’t let this make you feel as if you can’t deal with the idols in your life.
God is gracious to us. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners so that those who believe in him may be brought into a right relationship with God (Romans 5:8). God is at work, changing us to be more like Jesus. If Jesus is the Lord and Saviour of your life, know that God has saved you and is growing and transforming you for His glory.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12- 13.
Written by Rebekah Wilson