Identifying Idols

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

1 Corinthians 10:14

Idolatry sounds archaic. Images of ancient carved statues surface in our minds. But idols are far more than stone. The Bible speaks with clarity about idolatry. God himself ranked this sin at the top of the Ten Commandments. The New Testament writers say we should flee from it and we should guard ourselves from idols. But what is idolatry? How would modern man identify an idol?

Idols hide in the corridors of our heart. They manifest themselves through our thoughts and actions. The Apostle Paul writes, “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). Did you catch this list of sins, “which amounts to idolatry?”

In the past, the outworking of an idolatrous heart presented itself in handmade deities. Worshippers devoted their lives to a product of their own making. We may not hold a graven idol in our hands, but if we give our preeminent devotion to anything other than God, it is idolatry. Our relationships, careers, and even ministries can become an idol.

If we are not diligent to examine our inner life, our hearts will erect an altar of offense to God. We need to see the truth of John Calvin’s statement that the “human heart is a factory of idols.” We must allow the Spirit to walk through the hallways of our heart. Giving Him access to enter any door that He knocks on.

If you refuse to heed the rapping of the Spirit, you are guilty of idolatry. Christ should possess preeminence in every aspect of our lives. We have all ignored the Spirit, but God is gracious to uproot idols and continue His work in us. Believers have a guarantee of forgiveness if we confess our sins (see 1 John 1:9). The knock at the door of your heart will only grow louder. For God is jealous and will not share His glory with another. Will you get that knock at the door?

3 thoughts on “Identifying Idols

  1. Most people don’t think of idols as something in their hearts but as Old Testament statues that’s why they don’t feel the need to repent. This is an eye opening post that clarifies what an idol really is.

    1. Thanks for the comment! You’re right. Most people think of idolatry as an old problem, but the Bible states different. I came across Colossians 3:5 in my devotions and it provided the spark for this post. Again, thanks for the comment. Hope to see you here in the future, Barbara.

  2. Excellent post, K.W. I used the theme “Crush ‘Em” (meaning the idols) for a women’s ministry kick-off a few years back. We tend to ignore idols that “hide in the corridors” of our hearts. Thank you for bringing this topic into the light. May we all get up, and go answer the door.

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