We touch base with Him on a Sunday; we put our order in via prayer; we might give a decent tip in the collection plate or via Internet. So God is essentially there to help give you what you feel you need. When we worship an idol we turn God into a Divine Waiter!
Let’s do some spiritual cardiology. Brace yourself for a diagnosis of the way in which your heart is working. If you are not often witnessing about Jesus, then your heart is somewhere else. Are you able to see it? What you want in life is to be comfortable, or have a good reputation with friends and colleagues or a nice relaxing existence with your family, and so on. I have to admit that is what I want, but it is unsettling when I become conscious of it.
I think I worship family and my work with Christian Families more than I worship the Savior because I do not evangelize much. As a result, the family and families that I help are my idols.
When we serve something good like money, reputation, power, career, family and so on—we turn them into “god things” and our hearts get kidnapped from the only “idol” that we should worship which is God. At the heart of sin is idolatry in the heart—loving and obeying something other than our loving God.
Have you ever listened to a friend who just got engaged? They will talk about their future spouse non-stop for hours. As long as Jesus is not your greatest love, you will be quiet about him so you can serve your greatest loves—your idols.
Rico Tice talks about this in his latest book, Honest Evangelism. In the Bible, Paul noticed all the idols in Athens. We need to be able to see the ones in our own hearts. Rico gives four questions to ask yourself:
1. What do you daydream about?
Your idols are the things that, in reality, you most care about having, increasing or keeping.
2. What do you have nightmares about?
Our idols are the things that we most fear losing, that we can’t imagine living without, that keep us awake at night worrying.
3. What do you pray about?
If there is something we pray for more than for God’s will to be done in our lives and lives of our loved ones, it’s likely that it’s our functional god. If I pray that my children will be happy or healthy or married or successful or that they will grow the business rather than they’ll know Jesus and live for him whatever the cost, then I’m worshipping idols. (That convicts me!)
4. What do you need in life that, if you get it, means you’ll then live for God?
Do you say to yourself: Yes, I’ll obey God once I get…. or Yes, I will take risks to witness about Jesus, once I have achieved…. then you are ending each sentence with an idol.
Pretty convicting stuff! We may feel that we are doing good when we talk about church, or Jesus’ love, or how great it is to pray—but do we say enough to help people be saved? Do we talk about death, sin, hell, or salvation? Some reading this may be on their way to reducing the idols in their life, but my guess is that a lot of us didn’t even know that we had idols until just now.
This is important because our commitment to Jesus as the center of our lives should be a model for our kids now and should be the most important legacy that you can leave. Making Jesus the center of our lives is not only important—it is what God calls us to.
Rico says it best: “Once you can name your idols, when you start to see them working, you can confess them, and ask others to pray for you about them, and begin to look out for them. And you can begin consciously to seek what you have been looking for from that idol in the only place where you will truly find it—the Lord Jesus. We need to replace our idols with the real God: Christ.”
In order to share Christ, we need to first truly love Him! Ask the Spirit to work on your heart so that you can discover your false idols, and be able to displace them with the love of Christ so that when you talk about what you love, you will be talking about Jesus.
Free Download: Contentment Tensions Map
Are you content? Use this contentment map by Kingdom Advisors as the beginning of a bigger conversation that you have with your spouse or with the Lord about where you stand in light of the opportunity to experience greater contentment. This tool is not designed to be an assessment, but rather a conversation starter and a tool that begins to open doors to greater levels of contentment in your roles, relationships, and financial decisions.