Growing up in church you learn to not worship or have idols in your life. For me, I always thought of idols as statues shaped as people or animals that you physically worship. Most of us probably have heard of the 10 Commandments. The first and second commandments being:
“You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them…” (Exodus 20:3-5).
When you view idols as they were talked about in the Old Testament, it is easy to think creating idols in your life is not something you struggle with. I know I have thought, “I have never built a statue and worshipped it, so I do not have idols in my life.”
This is way off base. Idols are more than just statues you build and physically worship. Anything in your life can be an idol, and oftentimes it is the things you love most that become idols. It took me a while to learn this, and honestly this is something I am still learning. Idols are anything that you put before your relationship with Christ.
Relationships, sports, money, social media, our personal image, and so much more can become idols in our life if we are not careful. In and of itself, these things are not bad. When we start prioritizing these things before our faith, that is when it becomes an idol.
Determining what you idolize in your life is not an easy task. It requires some serious self reflection and honesty. For me the thing that has worked best is asking myself, “Where is your heart?”. Do you prioritize and value your relationship with a significant other or even a relationship with friends, more than your relationship with Christ? Do you make an effort to spend time with God and build that relationship, like you do with a friend or the person you are dating?
Do you find your identity or your self worth in being an athlete, and how you perform? Is your goal in life to make as much money as you can? Are you obsessed with checking your social media and maintaining your image? Do you spend as much time reading the Bible as you do checking your social media accounts?
What are you letting in your heart? Is it going to distract you from your relationship with Christ, or is it going to help make it stronger?
Our heart has to be centered on Jesus. That is why it is so important to guard our hearts. When we let other things take priority, and creep their way into our hearts we lose sight of how we are supposed to live our lives.
Don’t be like me. Don’t be naive enough to think that just because you do not worship a little golden statue, you do not have idols in your life. We are all guilty of idolizing things in our lives. I want to challenge you: examine your heart. What things are you putting before your walk with Jesus? What things are you choosing to do rather than obey what God has called you to do? Where is your identity found?
Let Jesus be the king of your heart. Seek after him more than anything else. He is where you find love, joy, peace, acceptance, and more. Don’t go looking for those in worldly things. Everything you need is in the Father.
By Peyton Thompson
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