do you worship idols piggy bankAnything or ANYONE you and I place ahead of God is an IDOL. Idols demand our love.

What has idol worship cost you? We who are Jesus followers never lose God’s love, but our lives and our minds become disordered when we worship idols.

Meet an Idol-Worshiper 

Linda (name and some details have been altered) deeply desires that her Christian husband stop binge-drinking. Her problem? She thinks that if she acts sweet (by picking up the kids’ toys before he returns home from work and by making nice dinners, for example), then he’d have to do what she wants.

When he goes out at night, she worries. She pouts and pleads. Still, about once a month, he gulps a twelve-pack of beer. She feels like a failure.

Her idols? Pleasure and security.

“I must have a godly and sober husband, or I won’t be happy,” she told herself over and over and over.

Please don’t misunderstand. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a husband to stop drinking. However, in Linda’s case, she is most concerned about herself and her happiness.

Self Check

How do you tell if you are worshiping God or an idol? Listen well to biblical counselor Elyse Fitzpatrick’s excellent answer:

If she is willing to sin to obtain her goal or if she sins when she doesn’t get what she wants, then her desire has taken God’s place and she is functioning as an idolater.

Look back to the example of Linda. You may notice a few of her sins: manipulation, worry, self-pity and unbelief.

You may see them in yourself too. I see them in me. When I don’t hear from a friend in a timely fashion and I sulk, when my husband seems more interested in TV than me and I snap at him, I reveal that my primary love is me, me, me.

God’s Take

This is what God says about idolatry:

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:3-5a, NIV)

God is jealous for your love. He hates your giving it to anyone or anything but him.

When you have ungodly thoughts, you’ll lack peace. You may feel godly sorrow, and this is good as long as you turn back to God. If you ignore God’s reminder that he is worthy of your worship, you may try to numb your pain, layering sin on sin.

Listen to God’s Voice 

Is God reminding you now of an idol you worship? Listen. Is there anything you are putting ahead of God? Work, children, money, your health, a habit?

Ask yourself this question: “If money is tight, a child is rebellious, a coworker or boss is nasty, or you get a scary medical report, how do you respond?” Ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment. He promises perfect guidance.

Do you recognize an idol? Remember, if you’re willing to sin to get what you want, this means your desire has taken God’s rightul place.

So Now What?

Next week let’s consider the next step. I’ll help you make the right choice and outline the basic biblical steps.

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photo credit: Alan Cleaver via photopin cc

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