If I told the average person on the street that they serve “idols” they would conjure up images of ancient Rome or Babylon bowing before huge statues of gold, silver or bronze. But you don’t have to have a time machine to see idols in our everyday lives. They are present in our lives today. They might not be bad things, they could even be seen as good and noble things, but if they step between us and God they are idols.
For some people work may be our idol because it brings self-satisfaction, a reason for living. For some people family becomes the most important thing in life. For some it’s what they own. Homes are no longer a place to eat, sleep and get away for rest and reflection on one’s life. The have become statements about the value of one’s life. In some places they have become oversized, highly decorated monuments to the self. We all appreciate creature comforts but how much room does one actually need. And naturally we need a lot of stuff to fill the home. In some cases we have too much stuff. A whole industry has arisen around our need to store our stuff. Some people find their worth in their religion. Going to church and participating in some ministry or service to others, placing a high emphasis on good deeds makes their life seem successful.
A good job, a supportive family and network of friends, a nice place to live with all the trimmings, and a faith community, a church to belong to are all vitally important. I have them all and I thank God for blessing me with those things, but they cannot be what gives me purpose and define my life. As Paul said in Philippians 3, I must count them as loss because of what Jesus has done for me. My life must be defined by my relationship to Jesus. Everything that comes between me and Jesus is an idol to some degree and must be dealt with. Paul says we should seek the loss of all things to know Christ Jesus. I am not saying we all should go out and have some coordinated, giant Northstar garage sale to sell all of our stuff and and live like hermits. What I am saying is that these things cannot control our lives.
Paul said he learned to be content in all things because they come and go, except for one: Jesus and our relationship to Him is for all eternity.
1. Have you limited God to the way you like to think about Him?
2. What do you want more than anything else? Holiness? Godliness? Contentment?
3. What do you sacrifice the most to?
4. How can you fight for a life free from idols?
5. Pray for an idol-free life and an idol-free church.