August 31

Written by Bill Grandi on August 31st, 2023

I could say or write on word and it would stir different thoughts. Depending on your circumstances past and present, your mind will form a picture.

The word? IDOLATRY.

For some that will lead you to think of a statue, something made with hands. Some will be astute enough to think of people or places.

If someone were to ask me what my definition of an idol is I would give them a very short statement as an answer: something that captures your heart.

That opens the page to a number of examples. The aforementioned image of wood or stone, which was very common in biblical times and in some religions, even today, comes to mind. Another broader example might be my job, my hobby, my spouse, my children, my possessions, etc.

Here’s the deal though: God is very plain and to the point when He says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” The main concern when He spoke those words was immediately followed up with “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness…You shall not bow down to them or serve them…” (Ex.20:3-5)  God would not be replaced by something stupid, something that could not respond. In fact, the Apostle Paul wrote about that in Romans 1:22-23-“Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

But truthfully, idolatry doesn’t have to refer to an image. Anything that captures our hearts, demands our attention, takes our affections away from love for the Father is an idol. Not that those things are wrong in and of themselves, but when they take over or take precedence, then they have approached idol territory. If we find ourselves with something or someone besides Jesus Christ taking first place in our heart, we can be pretty sure idolatry has occurred.

And that is a dangerous state to find yourself in.


10 Comments so far ↓

  1. gail says:

    Well said Bill, nothing to add to that.
    Father, search our hearts and minds and help us to align ourselves with only You. We cannot do this alone, we have to lean on You Lord to clear out the things of this world that distract us and draw our attention away from You. Our foundation is firmly with You Lord, but we can lose sight of Your mission and get caught up in the things of this world. Help us Father, to live for You alone and to keep our focus on our work for Your Kingdom. Amen

  2. Ryan S. says:

    You nailed it! Even things that are good can be idols. Ministries for example, if they take your focus off the God, can be idols. I am having to remind myself that good deeds and service do not replace my worship and adoration of my Father in heaven.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Not only are you right about ministries Ryan but also touched on it being a constant battle to not replace worship for the Father.

  3. A dangerous place, indeed, Bill. Lord, help me not to put anything or anyone above You!
    Blessings, and have a great weekend!

  4. Linda Stoll says:

    ‘captures my heart’

    yes, Lord, thank You for being merciful to me, a sinner. thank You for your forgiveness. help me to forgive myself and others around me.

  5. Cheryl says:

    So true, Pastor Bill! So many things can become idols. Even the things that we spend our time on. Like you said, in and of itself, it may not be a sin. But, too much of it can become a sin because we want it more than we want Jesus. We long to spend time doing that instead of spending time in His Word or praying and straining to hear His still small voice. Idolatry is tricky, too, because it creeps up on us. Sometimes we don’t even realize we have allowed something to become an idol until things have gotten out of hand. I am so thankful for the checks of the Holy Spirit that nudge us to let us know we are heading into excessive, dangerous territory. God, help me.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You put the hammer on the nail head Cheryl when you said “sometimes we don’t even realize we have allowed something to become an idol…” I have found that true in my own life. Thanks for the comment.