The Remedy For Idolatry
by Mary E. DeMuth
It may be hard to conceive, but America is full of idols. Maybe we don’t offer incense to a golden statue, but we do offer up our lives, our reputations, our money. In the Old Testament, idolatry is linked to spiritual adultery, and often what people worshiped had a sinister, satanic element. Idols are often interchangeable with demons. Love of idols made people do Satan’s bidding—to steal, kill, destroy. Which is why slaying idols is such an important holy habit. In this beautiful battle, we must take seriously the idols in our lives.
There’s more to idolatry than a stone statue. An idol is anything you run to that replaces your need for God. Idolatry is forbidden in the Ten Commandments: “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of
anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” (Exodus 20:4 NIV). In the New Testament, Paul clearly describes idolatry in Romans 1:25: “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So
they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself—who is worthy of eternal praise!” An idol is anything you
fashion, whether physically or in your imagination, that becomes an
object of worship.
Here are some other ways to look at idols. You might have an idol if:
You set your heart on something other than God.You need something other than God to be happy.
You allow something to capture your imagination more than God.
You seek something outside of God that only God can give.
You say, “If I have _____________, then my life will have meaning; I will have value; I’ll be significant and secure.”
You believe there is something you can’t live without or imagine your life without.
To pinpoint your idols, ask yourself:
What is operating in the place of Jesus as my salvation or savior?What am I most afraid of ?What do I run to first when something in my life falls apart?What is the worst thing that could ever happen to me?Where does my mind wander when I’m not thinking of other things? What do I daydream about?What worries keep me up at night?Where do I spend most of my resources (money, time, etc.)?What sparks my most uncontrollable emotions?What must I have at any cost?Fill in the blank: I would be horrified and humiliated if ________________.
Take some time to reread and think through those questions. Ask God to sift your heart, to show you what exactly it is you may be worshiping in place of Him. Journal your thoughts.
Once you’ve identified your idols, forsake them, then place your will in the right place: Jesus. Instead of worshipping the food you eat, use that moment to sing praises to the One who created all food. Instead of
worshipping your reputation, humble yourself, then seek to elevate God’s reputation with your actions and words. Instead of placing all your emotional energy into your children (and relying on their actions to
validate you as a parent), relinquish them to God, then give your parenting to Jesus, thanking Him for being the perfect parent.
Jesus deserves our everything, our lives, our worship, our allegiance. Anything that shifts us away from Him is in danger of becoming idolatrous. So the remedy isn’t a self-improvement plan (even that can become idolatry!), it’s laying our hearts before Jesus, giving Him control, and giving Him our full attention and affection. He is the remedy for idolatry.