We Christians today are surrounded constantly by idolatrous temptations. Whether its celebrities, a new TV show, our jobs, relationships, or even the internet, we can consume a lot our time and efforts with fruitless activities (see here). These idols can go further to the point where we have to rely on them for our happiness or security. In other words, we end up putting our hope in these things more than we do Christ. So to spot the idols in our lives, we must examine and allow God to refine us in every aspect of our lives.
So first we must ask what exactly is an idol? And I’m not talking about a statue or symbol that you literally bow down and worship. An idol can be anything that we ascribe worth to in our lives. It really becomes dangerous when something becomes more or of equal importance than our relationship with God.
But what does it look like to ascribe worth to something? Well, you can see how much a person ascribes worth to something depending on how much time they spend doing that thing, (or doing something related to it) how much they talk about it, how much effort they put into doing it, or how much money they spend on it.
Now these are just few noticeable clues; there are many idols that people may have in secret.
Modern Examples of Idols
As previously stated, the temptations that we are surrounded by are numerous. One prominent example that isn’t talked about very much is sports. (Disclaimer: I’m not singling out on sports; I am only using it as one of many examples.) The reason I find sports to be such a good example is because the way people today treat it. It’s also a very prominent example with the Super Bowl being right around the corner. (See here for a positive perspective on sports in the Christian life.)
The thing is sports is something that is enjoyable and fun to watch. The danger is when we become attached to something so intensely that it begins to effect other areas as well. When this happens we can sometimes forget that our life doesn’t revolve around sports, but it should be revolving around God.
For instance: What if people who were extremely stoked and passionate about their favorite sports team were just as excited about Christ. People so often talk about big plays, their favorite players, and they get super ecstatic whenever their team wins. The problem is that the victories of our favorite teams can sometimes downplay the most glorious victory that Christ has won.
It’s not that we can’t celebrate when our favorite team wins, or that we can’t talk about it. What we should constantly be doing is reflecting and examining our hearts to make sure that we are putting Christ in His rightful place… Above all else! His victory has won our souls and has given us eternal life. Now that is something that we should be excited about and passionately displaying to the world!
But like I said before, sports is only one example. The same could be said about music/bands, movies, video games, celebrities, relationships, social media, making money, etc. This is the thing that you wake up for in the morning, the thing that you are constantly are thinking or talking about, the thing that gives you a sense of purpose, that thing that you have to rely on to make you happy. In short, its the thing that you place your hope in.
What do you hope in?
So ask yourself: What do you place your hope in?
Does this thing overshadow the living hope which we have been born into as Christ followers?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…” (1 Peter 1:3)
Realize that the hope of Christ will never fade, but these false hopes and idols that take up our time and efforts will all one day perish.
So as you examine your heart for idols and false hopes please understand what I’m trying to say: I’m not saying that we should cut out all other hobbies except for Church stuff (praying, reading the Bible, etc.) What I am saying is that if something becomes unhealthy or if it competes for our desire and hope in Christ, then we should do what’s necessary to put Him back where he deserves.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
So lets change our perspective then. Instead of trying to make a pie chart out of our lives where God has the biggest slice, let us invite God into every area of our lives. Then we will be spiritually inclined to do whatever it is that glorifies Him the most. And whenever we celebrate victories or mourn losses, we will still rejoice and be thankful for His victory!