Resisting Our Idols

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Idolatry is enslavement to something we love.

Idolatry can take the form of our spouse, kids, job, health, beauty, pets, furniture, wardrobe, or more. All of these people and things are perfectly fine. There is nothing sinful about them, in and of themselves. The problem is when these good things are elevated to gods who rule over us. Instead of these things being the gift from God that they were intended to be, our sinful hearts twist them into false gods to which we give our lives, time, money, and life.

Here’s the tricky part about idols: Figuring out what they are.

In helping you recognize the idols in your life, here are a series of questions I developed when preaching on this topic:

• What do you long for most passionately?
• Where do you run for comfort?
• What are you most afraid of?
• What angers you most with others and God?
• What makes you happiest?
• How do you explain yourself to others?
• What do you brag about?
• What do you want to have more than anything else?
• What do you sacrifice the most for in your life?
• “If I could change one thing in my life, it would be ____________.”
• Whose approval are you seeking?
• What do you want to control or master?
• What do you treasure most?
• What do you complain about?

By God’s grace and the help of the Holy Spirit, by running through these questions you’ll be able to discover the idols in your life. Here are some suggestions in conquering the idols in your life and in living solely for Jesus.

First, recognize that your heart is prone to idol worship. Every person’s natural, sinful tendency is to worship the creation rather than the creator. John Calvin said of our condition hundreds of years ago, “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.”

Second, by God’s grace, break the idols in your life. How? Repent.

Third, replace the idols in your life. We are created as worshiping beings. We can’t stop worshiping. Just getting rid of one idol in our life makes room for worshiping another one. Rather than try to stop worshiping, we need to turn to Jesus and worship him. Your heart will not be at rest until you find rest in him.

Adapted from the sermon “Resisting Idols Like Jesus,” part 22 of the 33-part 1 Corinthians: Christians Gone Wild sermon series from 2006.