Can a Christian worship an idol?
Take this Merriam-Webster's definition of idols and it becomes glaring that Christians can have idols and never know.
1. "an object of extreme devotion"
This can apply to a person or a thing.
Many Christians worship idols. Not idols of stone, wood, or clay, but idols of ideologies, possessions, and achievements.
I am not going to mention the idols of money, social media (read entertainment), or material possessions. Those are usually more obvious.
The lure by some idols is so subtle it will shock many Christians to find out they’ve made something or someone more important than God in their lives.
This is the most subtle because it gives a false sense of devotion to God. But it is possible to adore and be devoted to ministry than you adore or are devoted to God.
Christians who worship these idols include:
It would be great if every Christian gave undivided attention to their place of call. Much more would be done for the kingdom of God. But such devotion cannot be healthy if it comes at the expense of personal relationship with the Lord. It becomes an idol.
Another less noticeable idol. Even the most cunning because how else can one classify devotion to a church apart from devotion to the Lord? The lines can be very blurred.
If you can defend the errors and flaws of your pastor, church, or denomination, more than you would defend the holiness of God in your words and actions, say whatever you want, you have an idol.
Depending on the situation, withdrawing your loyalty and submission from a pastor or church can be one of the best decisions you can make for a healthy Christian life.
But if such withdrawal also means you lose your faith in God or walk away from Christianity, you’ve been worshiping an idol all along in the person of your pastor, church, or denomination.
Are you surprised this has made the list of idols Christians worship?
The reason grim news or events cause panic in us is because fear has such a strong hold in our lives. We believe it more than we believe in God.
It is an idol. We give heed to its dire predictions more than we heed God’s word to ‘fear not’ and to ‘rejoice always.’
If Jesus is our God and reigns supreme, fear would have no place in our lives. We have this sickness that confesses the sovereignty of God over all situations from one corner of the mouth while speaking panic from the other side.
The confession that comes last and that affects our actions is the one we truly believe. That’s the idol. We’re ‘devoted’ to its ‘fact’ than the truths of God’s Word.
There’s nothing wrong with having good friends. It is actually necessary because we need the support and love of our fellows. No man is an island.
But friendships don’t have to become the pillars that hold our lives together, something that if they disappear, our lives would fall apart.
Friend’s validation and opinions count. They tell us we’re valued and wanted. But, if that validation and opinions trump God’s word and come between our obedience and submission to Him, those idols have to go.
No wonder, to build men up and draw them into closer intimacy, the Lord sometimes strip them of treasured friendships.
The Bible commands honest work so we can earn a living for ourselves and support for those in need. A lazy Christian is a bad example of a Christian.
But extreme devotion to work can become an idol, taking the place of God in your life. If your job and a paycheck at the end of the month can come between you and God, your job is an idol. If you can’t quit your job if God tells you to, that job is an idol.
You are a job worshipper if your employer can call you up at any time and have you available, while God would need to call out in a loud voice before you pay attention.
If you can’t study the word, pray, or fast, because these disciplines have taken the back burner to your job, you are a job worshipper.
Another way a job may become an idol to a Christian is when the Christian get their validation and self-worth from the job instead of from who God says they are in Christ.
This is a big idol worshipped by both singles and the married.
There are Christian singles who so desperately want to get married they would do anything, including sinning against God and their bodies, to get a husband or wife.
Making your marriage great or saving it can translate to very little time for God.
The list of idols Christians worship unknowingly should be longer than these 6. That’s why I won’t go naming more, but would try to help you identify idols in your heart, if there are any.
1. Think of anything or anyone you admire or treasure. If that person or thing were to leave your life, would it affect your faith in God?
Don’t be quick to answer no. Many times, we deceive ourselves by thinking we’re better than we really are.
2. Think of anyone or anything that dominates your thoughts and influences your actions. That’s an idol.
Only a faith and devotion that have been tested and tried in the place where God alone matters can be sure God alone reigns in one's life.
Even at that, the temptation to place something or someone above God is always there.
Daily decisions and sacrifices all count towards making Jesus the only God in our lives. If you have a sloppy prayer life, inconsistent Bible study plan, inability to hear God’s voice, those are all indications of idols.
You may need more effort to identify and throw away those idols.
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