Has an area of your life become an idol? Here’s how you can know.
We tend to think of the 2nd Commandment, “You shall not make for yourself an idol of any kind,” in terms of something made of gold, metal or wood.
Worshiping idols is far from an ancient or far eastern practice. Idol worship is alive and well in western culture and, specifically, the United States
An idol – or god – is whatever we use as a driving force in our lives.
It’s something around which we build our lives.
I knew a guy who was so driven by his favorite college football team that, if that team didn’t exist, his life would be empty and without purpose. It was his identity. He told me his wife actually told him that football team had become a god in his life. He laughed and dismissed her words as nonsense, completely invalidating the person who loved him most. They’re no longer married.
Idols in North American culture tend to be more philosophical than physical. For example: careers, wealth, popularity, stuff, sports, a particular hobby, gaming, social media, a relationship, etc.
Of course, all the above aren’t always idols in a person’s life. But, they certainly can be.
Tim Keller comments,
Romans 1:25 (they…worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator) tells us that idols are not sinful things, but good and basic things elevated into being ultimate things. We look to them for meaning in life, for covering our sense of significance.
If you’re curious if a particular area of your life has become an idol but not sure, ask your spouse, parent or a trusted Christian friend – anyone you know who loves you enough to tell the truth, even if it hurts a little. More than that, ask God. He’ll definitely tell you.
Further, his commands always carry not only judgment for violating them, but also a blessing for honoring them.
God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that placing our devotion to him first in our lives provides health, balance and mature perspective in all other areas of our lives. Giving God anything less than first place in our lives is a deliberate breaking of the 2nd Commandment. And that’s always a bad idea.
Solus Christus, Nick