Are There False Idols In Your Life?

This weekend, many people across the world are confined to their homes by the COVID-19 virus and subsequent shutdown of most of society.

We’ve all found ourselves with a lot of free time on our hands.

Things we used to spend copious amounts of time and energy on have been taken away.  

Since so many things have been shut down, this is a great opportunity to examine where there might have been false idols in our lives.  

Martin Luther wrote, “Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your god, your functional savior.

Perhaps we might realize that we didn’t really need all those things in our lives.  Perhaps those things had become false idols and instead of worshiping God, we were worshiping them.

1. Sports. All professional, collegiate, and youth sports have been completely canceled. Sports can be a great thing. They can teach teamwork, the importance of fitness, and can inspire greatness. Unfortunately, especially for men, sports have become a false idol.

You might know the week by week stats of your fantasy football team by heart, but if John 3:16 is the only passage of scripture you can recite, you’re failing.

Many men spend hours upon hours watching sports, reading about sports, chatting to their buddies about sports, and become entirely too emotionally invested in the ups and downs of their favorite teams.

Take this time without sports to examine if it had become too meaningful in your life and made you lose focus of what is truly important

2. Movies/Music/Entertainment. Any sort of public entertainment has come to a screeching halt. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps we spend way too much time idolizing celebrities, actors, and musicians.

Like sports, popular entertainment can be a good thing, but far too often it becomes an obsession.  

Maybe we don’t need constant entertainment. Maybe you’ll realize that you spent way too much time and money running to all these events instead of spending time with your family and with God.

3. Work.  Since the outbreak hit the United States, many people are working from home and some have been laid off entirely.  

While obviously difficult for many families in dire need of a paycheck, let’s take this opportunity to examine if our careers were becoming a false idol in our lives.

Maybe you were a workaholic and spent late hours at work, neglecting being home to play with your kids in the yard.   Perhaps you came home, but your mind and thoughts were still at work. Work can too easily be all-consuming and become a false idol. 

Work is important, but we can see by how quickly many people are losing their jobs, that jobs are fleeting.  Work and career should be secondary to God and family. If it isn’t, it’s an idol.

False idols can be anything.  Too often we picture idols from scripture like the “golden calf” when we discuss idols.  But idols are anything that takes priority above God in our lives.  

The Second of the Ten Commandments states: “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.

Idols can be sports, entertainment, or work like I listed above.  Social media and our obsession with “likes” can become a false idol.  Politics can even become an idol. An idol can be a hobby gone too far or a vice that becomes addictive.

I know in my past, and in many of the lives of the men I work with, porn has taken a godlike status in their lives.  It becomes all we think about and almost everything we do revolves around it. 

Dr. Doug Weiss, in the Conquer Series: The Battle Plan For Purity writes, “How do you know it’s an idol? When you’re in pain, you go to your idol. When you’re in need, you go to your idol, when you’re hurt, you go to your idol. When you want to celebrate, you go to your idol.” 

When we are in pain, we should seek God.  When we are in need, we should ask God for help.  When we are hurt, we can find healing in Him. When we celebrate, we should thank God for his lasting goodness.

Too often, we are guilty of creating false idols in our lives.  May we make use of this time where many of our idols have been taken away to examine ourselves, and if there are changes we need to make to remove false idols from our lives, that we would do so.  

Nothing should come before God in our lives. Instead of worshiping things, let us focus on worshiping Him.  

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Published by Timothy Reigle

I’m Timothy Reigle, the founder of Into The Wilderness Ministries. After overcoming a fifteen year addiction to porn and sex, I have made it my life’s mission to help other men break free from the bonds of addiction. As an author, coach, and chaplain, I work with men to transform their lives by renewing their faith, re-energizing their families, and restoring their masculinity.

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