“Idol” definition taken from Oxforddictionaries.com
noun -an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.
-a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved or revered: a soccer idol.
I’ve been rethinking many of the things I have allowed in my life that could certainly fall into this category. Particularly a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved or revered. Is it wrong for us to love those around us? NO, Jesus said that people will know we are Christians by our love for others! So when do people or things become an idol? I believe it is when we place their importance, opinions and or influence above our relationship and obedience to the King of Kings. Anything or person that we allow to detract us from our obedience to Jesus is an idol. Anything or anyone that we love more than Him is an idol. When we find ourselves compromising what we know is truth in order to accommodate others or to participate in something we know we shouldn’t we have allowed that person or thing to become an idol in our life.
For the last few months, I have begun to realize I am way too dependent on electronic gadgets! My blackberry is always within reach, facebook is readily accessible, the internet is a click away and tv is all too available. Though none of these things in themselves are wrong, when I allow myself to be caught up in never wanting them out of reach, I have made them an idol in my life.
I feel a stirring in my heart that we may be facing some incredibly difficult days ahead as believers. Our Christian heritage is being attacked on every front. Things are changing rapidly in society and most of the changes are tearing down our Judeo Christian foundation. Though I do use my gadgets to share my faith in Christ and to keep in touch with others, I am realizing that I really have to discipline myself not to give them too much space in my life. The only way for me to maintain an intimate walk with Christ is to spend adequate time in prayer and in reading my Bible and in fellowship. There have been occasions when I have been praying in my car on route to work and my cell phone has wrung and I have interrupted prayer to answer it! Responding as if the world would collapse if I missed that call!
Gadgets are but one thing that can become an idol. Other idols can be people. Perhaps a friend that demands too much time and keeps you from spending time with the Lord. A boyfriend or girlfriend that has become an idol and has replaced the need for Christ in your life. A teacher, Pastor, neighbor or musician. A hobby, a sinful habit, food, tv, sports etc.. Anything or anyone that takes the place of putting Christ first is an idol.
Though all of these things and people may have great value in our lives, we have to keep them in perspective and not allow anything or anyone to steal our heart from God. If it keeps us from or causes us to run from intimacy with Him it is an idol. The Bible tells us that God is a jealous God and wants us to put Him first. He knows how easily distracted we can become and knows it is vital for us to maintain intimacy with Him for the rest of our lives to work out according to His plan.
Let’s take a look at a few verses from God’s Word on idolatry….
Colossians 3:5-6 NIV 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. This is a sobering verse of warning of God’s wrath for people continuing in this type of idolatry.
1 John 5:21 NIV 21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
1 Corinthians 10:7 NIV 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.
1 Corinthians 10:14 NIV 14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
The following verse from the book of Samuel simplifies the value of anything or anyone we put before God in our lives.
1 Samuel 12:21 NIV 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.
Our hope is in the Lord. Other things and people have their place, but NONE are to take the place of Him in our lives. We are to put NO OTHER gods BEFORE HIM. Though taken from the Old Testament ten commandments, this word has never changed. He loves us so much and does not want to be second in our lives. Perhaps we need to ask Him to show us people or things that we have allowed to become idols in our lives and then ask for His forgiveness. The Word tells us He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
When we put anything or anyone before Him we lose out on the things God wants to do in us and through us. We get waylaid from the course He has set for us. Let’s determine to love Him wholeheartedly. Confess and set aside anything that will keep you from your intimacy with the lover of our soul! After all, in order to be used by God and a blessing to those around us, we need to keep our hearts right with Christ!