Thursday, November 17, 2011

Idol Identification

"Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the issues of life."
Proverbs 4:23

In order to deal with your personal idols, you have to be able to identify them. Most of us have convinced ourselves that we are not idol worshippers, which means we have justified and classified our idols as spiritually acceptable. Our idols are second nature to us - we don't even realize that we are worshipping and sacrificing to them on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

Idol identification is where we have to start. Here are a few questions to answer to get started:
  • What would make you happy?
  • Where do you look for security, meaning, happiness, fulfillment, joy or comfort?
  • What do you see as your "rights"?
  • What do you pray for?
  • What do you fear? What do you tend to worry about?
  • What fills your mind during the day?
  • What would those closest to you say is your greatest desire?
Your answers to these questions are important, so it is vital that you are honest with yourself. As you search your own heart, you need to be able to honestly assess what drives you - do godly desires drive you or are they self-centered? How do your answers above define your view of God?

Next, you need to think through what would be potential idols in your life. Here is a list to look through - pick which would be the top three that are important to you:
  • Performance - desire to please others or self
  • Good Health
  • Love of Money
  • Success
  • Fairness
  • Pain-free life
  • Christian marriage - desire for improvement
  • A Christian husband
  • A baby
  • Physical Appearance
  • Being Respected
  • Being Self-Sufficient
  • Athletics - participation or passion for a sport
  • Hobbies
  • Worldly Pleasures (alcohol, drugs, sex, food, etc.)
  • Being in Control
  • Meeting Goals
  • Children's achievements
  • Having your needs met
Once you have chosen three potential idols from this list, ask yourself these three questions:
  1. Am I willing to sin to get this?
  2. Am I willing to sin if I think I am going to lose this?
  3. Do I turn to this as a refuge and comfort instead of going to God?
Your answers to these questions will reveal whether or not this is an idol in your life. For example, let's say that physical appearance is very important to you. You believe that unless you are fit and trim, beautifully dressed with stylish hair, you will not be successful in life. You won't find a husband and you won't get the job you desire.

Are you willing to sin to stay thin? Do you deprive your body of food to achieve this goal? Have you possibly developed an eating disorder in order to maintain what you believe is the body that would make you most successful? When your weight is the right number, is that a comfort to you? Does it throw your day off when that number moves up? How often are you weighing yourself or looking in the mirror?

Being healthy and taking care of oneself is not sin, in and of itself. Most of our idols start out with good intentions, but because we were made to worship - add that to our sinful flesh and we end up worshipping our desires over the One who made us.

So, now that you've identified a potential idol or two in your life, what should you do next?

1 comment:

  1. Physical safety is an idol I am only beginning to see in my life and those around me. I think it comes from being in a "safe" country for so many generations. The thought of physical harm seems to excuse sinful measures to stay there and can keep us from obeying Gods call if it means risk.