This isn’t to say that every disappointment reveals an idol, but if a loss becomes the catalyst for a significantly low point for you, it might be pointing to a false god in your life.
Are you disappointed with your financial status or your career? Do you feel disappointed with the home you live in?
Another way to address this is to ask: what do you complain about?
If you were to ask this question to the people who are closest to you, how would they respond? Their answers reveal something about a god that is at war within you.
- What do you make time and financial sacrifices for?
We know the precious commodities of time and money are revealers of our hearts. The appointments in your Google calendar and the items on your bank statement tell the story of your life and your priorities.
That’s why many churches consider the offering an act of worship. In fact, more than singing and praying, it’s the most tangible act of worship during a service. You can choose to do anything with that money, but you’ve chosen to give a portion of it back to the Creator because you believe He matters most.
- What do you worry about?
If that doesn’t hit a nerve, ask yourself: What am I most afraid of?
Psychologist Alfred Adler, who is not a Christian, says, If you want to understand what someone is living for, don’t ask them, because people don’t give you the straight answer, because oftentimes they don’t even realize it. If you want to know what someone is living for, ask them: ‘What is your nightmare?’
What thing, if lost, might diminish the meaning of life for you? Is there something that you’re depending upon for your identity? Show me your worst nightmare and I will show you something that has the potential to be a god in your life.
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What thing, if lost, might diminish the meaning of life for you? Show me your worst nightmare and I will show you something that has the potential to be a god in your life.
- What do you dream of?
What gets you excited and awakes a passion within you? Are you spending too much time staring at your screen saver, dreaming of winning the lottery?
When we allow these things to become a mistress and take the place of God in our lives, we’re experiencing today’s form of idol worship. God is jealous because of the passion and the time and the effort and the energy we give these things.
What gets your passion, energy, and finances? If you’ve allowed something to become a mistress in your life and take the place of God, you’re experiencing idol worship.
- Where do you run for comfort?
After a long day at work, school, or with friends, what’s your comfort?
Henry Blackaby defines an idol as anything you turn to for help when God tells you to turn to Him for help. Do you head to the refrigerator for comfort food? Or video games to get in a win? Or do you pick up the phone to vent to a friend?
Gods that war within are sneaky. These comforts aren’t necessarily wrong, but it’s how we allow them to take the throne in our hearts that makes them an idol.
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- Whose applause do you long for?
If you cheerleaders left the room, would you lose your motivation? Do you secretly live for those great reviews and promotions and the reminder that your company can’t live without you?
Are you putting pressure on your spouse to applaud your work? When you lash out with resentment, know that it began when you let the idol of approval win the war of your heart.
The work of revealing the idols you worship today won’t happen overnight. Consider these questions as you conduct your days, asking God to reveal the gods at war for your heart.
OVERCOMING IDOL WORSHIP TODAY
It’s our job to choose which god we’ll serve. To make it clear to us, oftentimes God will put Himself in direct competition with something that we love or care about a great deal. And He will say to us, You choose between Me and them.
When we explore Joshua’s instructions to the Israelites in Joshua 14:24, we’re given a straightforward solution to overcoming our idol worship:
Throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.
Joshua challenges the people to smash all other gods and surrender to Him alone.
He is a jealous God who refuses to share that seat of glory in your life because true love doesn’t share.
ASK GOD TO REVEAL YOUR HEART
Are you ready to destroy the gods that war for God’s place in your heart? Pray this psalm today:
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.(Psalm 139:23–24)Pray that He will search and test your heart and lead you in His ways. Then ask Him to replace every idol with Christ and allow you to experience everlasting transformation for His sake.