What Makes an Idol?

The Old Testament revealed and condemned idolatry in a very physical and real way. The New Testament informs us that idolatry can be understood metaphorically in our lives, like when it’s covetousness (Colossians 3:5). That being the case, how do you know when something’s an idol to you? When you see that it takes priority over your life, or that it’s sinful to do, and you then …

  1. Find ways to justify it.
  2. Find friends who will agree with you, regardless of what Scripture says.
  3. Take Scriptures out of context to “prove that it’s okay”.
  4. Get overly defensive when someone around you speaks against the specific active, even though they may not even know that you do it.
  5. Continue to push it back in your mind as you keep doing it in order to numb your conscience so you won’t feel the cut from God’s Word.

Maybe your idol is your children. Maybe your idol is your recreation. Maybe your idol is your career. Maybe your idol is your recreation. John exhorted at the end of his first letter, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). In everything, God must come first (Matthew 6:33).

Adapted from Shane Vetter