Idolatry might seem so primitive to you…at least it used to seem that way to me. Every time I heard the word “idolatry,” my mind would race to the golden calf in the Old Testament. I would shake my head in disbelief and think, “Gosh, those silly Israelites. What where they thinking?”
How foolish of me to think that way.
Idolatry is just as much, if not more, rampant today than it was then. It’s just that our idols might look a bit different. While we might not literally fashion a graven image out of gold and bow down and worship it, our hearts bow down to many things other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
When anything else other than Jesus becomes the chief focus in our lives…idolatry.
When something is more important to us than Jesus…idolatry.
When anything holds greater affection in our hearts than Jesus…idolatry.
These are not easy words to swallow, but they’re true. It was Jesus Himself that uttered these freedom words: “The truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) A good thing can easily become a bad thing when we make it into a “god” thing. Some modern-day idols might seem obvious: sex, money, power. Others might not be so obvious…comfort, reputation, family, children. The list could go on. Some of these things were good things created by our Good Creator. Still, none of them were created to be worshiped. None.
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:25 NIV
It’s often a very fine line between cherishing something and idolizing it. Of course, we should love our spouse, children, and family. We should work hard at our jobs, and we should steward our resources well. But none of these things should hold highest place. That spot is reserved for Christ alone. If we are ever to break free of strongholds, we must start by exalting Jesus Christ to His rightful place in our lives: First place.
I can’t think of a better first step toward this freedom than rehearsing God’s character through prayer. We were created to worship our Creator. It is our highest calling in this life, existing to bring Him glory. When we rehearse who He says He is in His Word, every other thing that has fought for our greatest affection will only pale in comparison and prove to be nothing more than a counterfeit.
Join me in Praying God’s Word this week as we seek to slay the stronghold of idolatry. I’ve copied a few of the Scripture prayers below from Beth Moore’s book Praying God’s Word. There are so many more to find within the Word of God. Search for them! Write them down. Pray them out loud. Let’s get serious about our freedom today, friends.
My Father, I acknowledge that You are the Lord Almighty. You are the first and You are the last, and apart from You there is no other God. Make me witness to the fact that there is no other Rock but You. Enable me to say with full assurance, “I know not one.” (Isaiah 44:6, 8)
O, Lord my God, help me never to worship any other god, for You, my Lord, are a jealous God. (Exodus 20:4-5)
O, Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago. (Isaiah 25:1)
For me, there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom I live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:6)
Thank you for reminding us that even “good things” can become idols. Like so many of us I struggle with balancing work and life, but I can see this is the wrong equation. God first. Period. May it be so.