What do you think of when you hear the word idol? I’m guessing the names Kelly Clarkston, Carrie Underwood and Kris Allen come to mind before anything else. Because of the popular show, American Idol, we haven’t given any real thought to what the word idol means, nor are we conditioned to view it as a bad thing.
Dictionary.com defines an idol as “an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.” After hearing the definition, I hope the people above wouldn’t qualify as an idol; however, we tend to idolize things and others without even realizing it.
When I was working with FCA, I tried to break things down into language that didn’t seem so teachy preachy and make it easy for them to understand. When talking about idols, I’d ask them to think of anything they choose to spend more time with or focused on than Jesus and that was their idol. The key word in my definition is choose. What gets your undivided attention?
Do you choose to spend more time at work than the required number of hours on a regular basis? Do you choose to spend more time on Facebook than you do diving in the Word? Do you dedicate more time to the television or sporting even than you do prayer?
Exodus 20:4-5 makes God’s opinion of idols crystal clear: “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me.” Shall not is pretty direct, yet we do it all the time. We may have more than one idol.
Each day is made up of 24 hours, which is 1440 minutes or 86,400 seconds. They were all created by God and for God, yet how many of them do we actually dedicate to God and how many of them do we dedicate to other things?
I’m not suggesting you spend 23 of your 24 hours a day with your nose in your Bible. You have to live in the real world. You have to earn a living to take care of your family and the laundry has to get done whether we like it or not, but there are probably areas we could all change in our lives.
I would encourage you to take some of those 86,400 seconds today and determine if you need to rearrange things so you don’t have a idol sitting in God’s seat. God takes those things pretty seriously. If you find you do have some things out of order, ask the Father to help you. He will give you the wisdom, discernment and strength necessary to put Him in His proper place.