Identifying Idols

What exactly is an idol? (My own definition) It’s simply something that people worship. I’ve had this conversation with a handful of people and the mere thought of them worshiping anything other than what they claim seems barbaric, but it’s so easy to fall into, most of us don’t realize we’re doing it. It’s all in the perspective of what we consider worship, so let’s start here. Worship, is commonly defined as revering what’s considered a deity or the supernatural. While we may not believe we worship idols, I want to highlight a more relevant definition. According to Merriam-Webster, is “to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor or devotion.”[1] While we’re not getting on the floor to bow, sing or pray to our idols, our actions announce what we worship. As a result, we become the product of what we worship.

What does worship of modern day idols look like?

Simply put, it’s dependence on a thing or person in order for success of satisfaction. It’s the first thing we choose to do in the morning and the last thing we do at night. It’s what we prefer to spend the majority of our time around or doing. It’s the person or thing we wait for a response/feedback on our situation before we’ve prayed to God about it. It’s wrapped in immediate gratification, mainly because God is taking too long. It’s something that causes our dopamine levels to rise instead of studying scripture and quiet time with God. These idols can’t save us or feed us what we need spiritually.

They’re not autonomous, they need us to work. Our imagination Why is this necessary to know? Our influence to use, move and mold things and people to serve us shows we are really worshiping ourselves and our cravings.

What can be an idol?

Anything we put before Christ. For the majority of us, it’s our phone, our social media. For others it’s people. Food, vanity and self-imagery. We can worship mindsets and habits, by refusing to find new ways of living and protecting what makes us comfortable despite it killing us slowly. Ancestors and satisfying family criteria that aren’t healthy or God-given. Taking more pride in astrological signs, boasting in how much of a (enter here) we are, while refusing to align with biblical principles on how our character should be. It’s in our spouses, being quick to respond to texts and slow when God wants our attention. We worship our own children, being so consumed in their lives that it causes unhealthy dynamics and strained relationships. It’s inside the doors of the church, where we feel better after leaving, because we left God there all week. Our addictions, the things we avoid. It’s in our quickness to dismiss the discipline it takes to follow Christ and give into what’s available.

Our actions create idols. While we know these things aren’t God and can never replace Him, our readiness to turn to people, places and things for comfort and validation instead of him speaks volumes. While we may not have the luxury to consistently study, etc.. everyday for the rest of our lives, we can still refuse to put anything else before Christ.

How?

Saying a quick “thank you Jesus.” when you wake up. Saying short prayers throughout the day. Cutting down time on scrolling on your phone to study instead. Pray and allow God time to speak to you before consulting a friend for a quick response.

(THERAPY IS STILL VITAL, PLEASE DON’T DISCOUNT THE USE OF THERAPY!)

Take the time to read your bible and do some research about it. Don’t leave the responsibility of your own salvation on your pastor because you literally can’t, it’s yours! In moments of pressure or panic,

[1] “Worship.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worship. Accessed 9 Nov. 2020.

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