How To Know The Truth About Idol Worship

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What is idol worship? Does it require a statue or is it possible that it is anything or anyone you and I value more than God? We're taking a closer look & asking some questions to help us understand.

What do you value most? Is there something or someone you believe you can’t live without?

Do you struggle with idol worship?

There’s a verse in Exodus 20 that tends to be overlooked. Most of us have the 10 Commandments memorized but the most common list omits the second part of the first one.

“You must not have any other god but me. “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.

Exodus 20: 3–5a

As I focused on that middle verse, I felt challenged to ask myself … Do I have an idol?

The word idol is defined as:

  1. An image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.
  2. A person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.
  3. Biblical meaning – An image of a deity other than God.

There’s a common theme that runs throughout Scripture – lessons we can learn from the mistakes of others…

  • This became a great sin, for the people worshiped the idols. 1 Kings 12:30
  • Yes, they worshiped idols, despite the Lord’s specific and repeated warnings. 2 Kings 17:12
  •  This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin. Ezekiel 14:4
  • Instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. Romans 1:23
  • A greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Ephesians 5:5

That’s just the shortlist.

God’s Word is clear … He wants us to love Him with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength and that cannot include idolatry in any form.

So, the more I’ve studied Scripture, the more I’ve had to ask myself if I have anything in my life that God would consider an idol. Do I have anything I value more than God? Are there habits, desires, or possessions passed down by those who’ve gone before me … things I’ve given idol status without knowing it? Are the celebrities or well-known teachers whose ideas I follow over the Word?

Is selfishness the greatest idol of all?

So, I came up with the following questions to help me take a closer look at my heart…

Questions to Identify Idol Worship in My Life

  1. What is essential for my peace, joy, and happiness?
  2. Where do I turn for comfort? When I’m worried? When I’m stressed or angry?
  3. What is my greatest fear?
  4. Who or what controls my moods?
  5. Who or what do I trust or rely on most?
  6. Where do I invest most of my time and money?
  7. Could I go on if I had to live without ___________?
  8. How much do I think about me?

Let’s call them – Tough questions that get to the heart of our hearts.

The Good News is that God forgives sin. Even this one! His grace is sufficient to cover our foolish attitudes and idols.

Because of all that God has done to pour His love over us … yes, because of Jesus, I want to know and deal with anything I’ve made an idol in my life. If you feel the same way, ask yourself the questions above and join me as I pray and ask God to grant us His grace and mercy yet again.

I need God’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy. And want to know and deal with anything I’ve allowed to become an idol in my life.

What is idol worship? Does it require a statue or is it possible that it is anything or anyone you and I value more than God? We're taking a closer look & asking some questions to help us understand.

A Prayer to Identify and Reject Idol Worship

Father, You commanded Your people to worship You alone … to have no other God. You commanded them to stay away from all forms of idolatry. And You invited them to love You completely—with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

Complete love and worship include total surrender … it means being able to say, “Thy will be done.” When I place You as the center of my life, I acknowledge that You are the Lord of my life in everything I do and say. I know I am inconsistent in living surrendered and honoring You. Please forgive me and help me.

The Apostle John warned us to guard ourselves from idolatry … to avoid anything that could take Your place in our hearts. So, I will ask myself these important questions regularly to help me remain aware of things I’m tempted to worship.

You make all things possible in my life. Your love is greater than anything I can understand or imagine. In response to who You are and all You have done and continue to do … I give myself to You. I want You alone to be the heart of my heart. By Your grace and for Your glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

What is idol worship? Does it require a statue or is it possible that it is anything or anyone you and I value more than God? We're taking a closer look & asking some questions to help us understand.

Pastor Kyle Idleman wrote…

“Idolatry isn’t just one of many sins; rather it’s the one great sin that all others come from. Idolatry isn’t an issue, it is the issue. Anything that becomes the purpose or driving force of your life probably points back to idolatry of some kind.”

The truth is that we need to ask ourselves the above questions often. We need to be honest with ourselves and know the attitude of our hearts.

Martin Luther wrote…

“Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, is really your God, your functional savior. ”

And the amazing blessing is that…

When you and I put God first in our lives everything else falls into place.

So, let’s do a deep dive into uncomfortable self-analysis to see if we have an unknown struggle with idol worship.

And then let’s prayerfully go to God and humbly ask Him to help us fully surrender ourselves to Him.

God be with you and bless you as you take on the idols in your life.

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  1. Martha Orlando says:

    Lord, help me to worship You and You alone! My life has no meaning unless I surrender completely to You each day.
    Thank you, Deb, for urging us to reflect on these so important attitudes. Blessings!

    1. That’s my prayer, too. Worship the Lord alone with a surrendered heart. He is worthy of all my love and all my praise. Blessings, dear friend!

  2. Kathy Francescon says:

    Wonderful food for thought, Deb! I never want to be guilty of putting anything or anyone before our Father God! I will definitely be searching and thinking and praying about this. We must die to ourselves, to truly live for Christ!
    I hope you enjoyed a lovely Mother’s Day! Praying for you, dear friend…

    1. Thanks, Kathy! I surrender myself to the Lord each morning but I want to consciously give Him first place in my life 24/7. There are so many people and things trying to capture my heart. I’m thinking that I need to now only surrender but also to resist the enemy’s temptation and make him flee. I did have a lovely Mother’s Day with my daughter and her family. I pray yours was great, too. Blessings!

  3. Ana Cordova says:

    What eye opening your words and prayers to help me give myself completely to God to do his will. Help me to do a deep conscious cleansing to recognize what my idol’s are in order to ask God to separate me from them.
    Have a blessed day.

    1. Thank you, Ana! It was something I needed to think about. It’s easy to think about the 1st Commandment as one we “keep” because we know and trust the Lord. But I want to pause regularly to make sure I’m not just trusting Him but that I’m honoring Him and giving Him first place in my life. God’s blessings!

  4. Pamela Marshall says:

    Hi my name is Pam, I want to thank you for the truth of God’s word and how it relates to our lives. I particularly like the way you help me to understand about idol worshipping. I know for a fact that I because of my emotions worshipped a man (look to him for comfort and guidance instead of God) and because of that God said to me I am your God. But I had to laugh when it was said or the question was asked can I go on if I had to live without ____, because it’s so true that we put more faith in a creature than we do the creator. Also whenever I hear the truth about me or my situation I laugh because I am agreeing with it, I don’t laugh to mock God or his word, but because it speaks directly to my situation and let’s me know that God hears, see, and knows everything about me and wants me to know as well.

    1. I appreciate your kind words of encouragement, Pamela. I believe the Lord loves it when we laugh in agreement with His will realizing our need for His mercy and grace. It’s the overwhelming joy of knowing and loving Him. Thanks for visiting. God bless you!!