Before I delve into the topic of idolatry, I would like to thank Mr. Fowler for inviting me to be an author on Christian Perspectives. I apologize for the lengthy amount of time between invitation and first article, I was unsure what I wanted to write about.
Furthermore, I hope to keep anything I write lined up with the Word of God, and if anyone sees something that doesn’t, please (kindly) point it out. I’m always up for a discussion on the Word. Also, this is my first time writing anything on the Bible that is to be publicly seen, so if it’s rough bear with me. Any constructive criticism or comments are happily welcomed.
Without further ado let’s dive into the topic of idolatry. What is idolatry? I would venture to say a majority of the population thinks idolatry is when people bow down to, worship, and pray to little carved images – often called idols. While this is a form of idolatry, it is by no means the only way to practice idolatry. The Merriam-Website Dictionary defines idolatry as: “the worship of a physical object as a god.” This is a good, broad definition, however I hope you agree with me that is too vague to fully portray the concept of idolatry.
The best definition that I’ve heard for idolatry is this: “Anything you desire more than God is an idol.” As I’m sure you noticed, it is very similar to the above definition. However, there is one key word swap that I believe makes idolatry much more noticeable when examining our lives for sin. The first definition used the word “worship” and the second used “desire”. Often we don’t see ourselves worshiping physical objects or people, but we can easily see what we desire most. So, let me ask this question: what do you desire most? If you’re being completely honest, and your first impulse was not the Lord, then you may be living in idolatry without even fully realizing it.
Another way to evaluate what you truly desire most, is look at your prayer life. What do you pray for most? Is it for physical things here on earth? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT saying don’t pray at all for physical things. I’m simply saying if that’s all or mostly what you’re praying for, you are probably in trouble. David, the man after God’s own heart, said this, “One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4) Did David ever pray for physical things? Yes, but that was never his focus, this was. And we should follow his example in this regard.
Unfortunately, I am speaking from personal experience. In the past I have made a variety of physical things my idols without even realizing it. Some of those things have been family, friends, or myself. Exodus 34:14 says, “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” And that is the truth. God does not appreciate it when we, His children, put physical things in His spot in our hearts. And if you don’t repent and refocus your heart on Him, there’s a chance He will remove that idol from your life. At least, this is what He has done in my past. I personally didn’t even realize how much of an idol it was until it was already gone.
Another definition that I’ve heard idolatry given is this, “Whatever you put your hope in is an idol.” Which I think is also a good definition, however like worship is a bit harder to notice in your life. This could be applied to a variety of things, such as putting your hope in family, or future family/spouse, or job, and the list could go on.
Chances are, different people are going to tempted to make different things their idols, so it is imperative that each one of us regularly and continually pray and check our hearts for any barriers we may be erecting between us and God. It may take time to notice it, because it may be camouflaged; however, if you pray with a truly repentant and open heart I believe God will show you in His timing.