Identifying Idols

“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:”

Exodus 20:2-4

Idolatry seems archaic. We imagine worshippers bowing in obeisance to ancient carved statues, but idols are more than the stones of the past. We still struggle with this sin because idolatry is a heart issue. The Bible speaks with clarity on the subject. God ranked this sin at the top of the Ten Commandments. The New Testament writers say we should flee from and guard ourselves from idols. But what is idolatry? How can we identify an idol today?

The modern-day idols hide in the corridors of our hearts. 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 that “amount 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 sinful. Our relationships, careers, and even ministries can become idols.

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 knocking 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. Do you hear the Spirit knocking at your heart’s door? Open and allow Him to identify the idol in your life.