“Whenever we take what God has done and put it in the place of Himself, we become idolaters.”
When I was three, one night at the dinner table, I told my parents, “Eating is the funnest thing to do!” Early on in life, food was an idol to me. It became my source of comfort and security when I was anxious or afraid. I call it my go-to-god. It may initially be want I think I need, but it’s only a temporary fix. It never truly satisfies.
Bill Gothard defines idolatry as “trusting people, possessions, and positions to do for me what only God can do.” We put our trust in spouses and sports, cash and collectibles, eating and entertainment, vocations and vacations, but at some point in time, all of these will let us down and fail us.
God has made things for our pleasure, therefore it’s okay to like and enjoy things. But we are not to LOVE things, as in I-HAVE-to-have this. You know something is an idol if it has control over you and possesses you instead of you owning and controlling it. Idols take our attention, affection, our time and money. Some idols are very acceptable in our culture, such as workaholism and excessive exercise. Even ministry can become an idol.
What do you do when you’re anxious, upset, or angry? Do you run to the pantry or refrigerator? Do you run to the department store and shop for clothes? Do you turn to your favorite hobby or pleasure, such as sports or movies? In lieu of those, why not try running to Jehovah, the One, True God.
In Deuteronomy 6:5, Moses instructs the nation of Israel to: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, (mind, will, emotions), and with all your strength.” We’re not told to love our house with all our heart, or to love our sports with all our soul, nor to love our spouse even, with all our strength.
Our God is a jealous God. Sometimes the best way I can understand what someone is going through is by putting myself in their shoes, such as how I would feel if their scenario was happening to me. Christians are the bride of Christ. If my spouse one day came home from work with another wife, let me tell you, it would NOT sit well with me! I’d be jealous. I want my husband all to myself and I certainly don’t want to share him with another woman! It’s the same with the Lover of our soul. God becomes a jealous lover when He sees we love something or someone else more than we love Him. How do you think it makes Him feel when we spend hours watching t.v. each night, but spend very little time sitting at His feet?
The saying goes, “Starve a fever and feed a cold.” One way to break the idolatry in our lives is to starve our go-to-gods and feed whatever is opposite of that idol. For example, since food is one of my idols, then I choose to give my husband the larger piece of chocolate cake. If you go shopping and spend your money when you’re discontent, then give up shopping for a month to break the hold it has on you. If you’re struggling with self-centeredness, then focus on being unselfish in your actions.
In the end, instead of going to our go-to-gods, choose to simply go to God, the creator of the Universe. He alone will satisfy.
“It’s easy to get attached to idols, good things inappropriately adored. But when you have Jesus in the center of a room, everything else only junks up the decor.”
1. What are your “go-to-gods” when you’re in need?
2. What can you “fast” or give up to initially break the hold the idol has upon you?
3. What does loving your God with all your heart, soul and strength, look like to you?