Sometimes We Build Idols

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Sometimes We Build Idols

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Sometimes We Build Idols

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Anyone who has read the Ten Commandments understands that we should not worship any other gods or build idols (Exodus 20:2-4 Exodus 20:2-4 [2] I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. [3] You shall have no other gods before me. [4] You shall not make to you 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.
American King James Version×
Leviticus 26:1 Leviticus 26:1You shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither raise you up a standing image, neither shall you set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down to it: for I am the LORD your God.
American King James Version×
). Today maybe we’re not building great monuments or molding golden calves of gold, but we drag around idols with us nonetheless—they just aren't big and blatant. Sometimes idolatry is as simple as coveting something, which can lead us into trouble.

Once we put more importance on any person, place or thing over God, we have made for ourselves an idol.

Recently there was an anti-smoking ad campaign. In the ad, different scenarios were explored, e.g. someone is at a party or listening to a lecture, then a tiny man or woman (only seen by the main character) starts yelling unrelentingly, telling the person they need to leave immediately. In the next clip, you see the person outdoors holding up the little person between two fingers. That’s when you realize the tiny person represents a cigarette. The point of the ad was to show that nicotine addiction has such a control over people that they will interrupt their lives in order to keep smoking.

What controls us can lead us away from God and His plan. What we love or crave the most will ultimately lead us in the wrong direction. In this case, the need to smoke takes control over all decisions. As a former smoker, I have experienced this play out. When I smoked, I would decide where I would or would not go depending on if or when I could smoke. If having a cigarette was on my mind, it also determined how quickly I might leave an event or how much I could actually focus.

Whether it be the pull of a cigarette or the love of our life, what controls or leads us can be our idol at that moment. If anything is more important to us than following God, we have a real problem.

Everyday idols

Here are just some of the things we might not think of as idols, but they can be if they have control of our life, focus or our actions:

Alcohol—being compelled to drinking too often or to excess
Drugs—abusing prescription or recreational drugs
Envy—having a consuming jealousy, wanting what someone else has
Resentment—holding on to hurt or angry feelings to the point of mania
Sex/lust—watching pornography, committing adultery, or having a personal preoccupation  
Gambling/money/playing games/sports—having an obsession with winning or accumulating wealth
Our jobs—being overly passionate with what we do, to the exception of all else

People can be our idols, too. I have known people who quit attending church because their pastor moved, died or retired. Our spouse can also be our idol if we obey him or her over what we know God wants us to do. Anyone who comes between us and God is an issue.

Sometimes we don’t even realize we are pushing God out. It’s certainly not bad to have money, to love someone, or to have a drink now and then. It’s when we make it our first priority that it becomes an issue. The apostle Paul tells us, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5 Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
American King James Version×
).

We are also told: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24 Matthew 6:24No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
American King James Version×
). The word "mammon" means “material wealth or possessions especially as having a debasing influence” (Merriam-Webster dictionary).

Once we put more importance on any person, place or thing over God, we have made for ourselves an idol. Remember: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (James 1:14-15 James 1:14-15 [14] But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. [15] Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
American King James Version×
).

If we worship what is here on earth, we are in for great disappointment. What is of the world is perishable and can lead only to what is perishable. Only God’s realm and His promises are everlasting. We must stay close to God and Christ and be careful not to build our own idols.

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