Shatter: Leave Your Idols Behind

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


Day 1: Identifying the Idols

“Idol” can feel like such a heavy word sometimes. The story of the Golden Calf is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the word “idol.” With that in mind, it may be hard to see what kind of idols we need to be identifying… I mean, I don’t have any cows made of gold lying around in my house, do you? Unfortunately, it may not be as easy for us to identify the idols in our lives. Let’s walk through what an idol is so that we can identify them.

Pastor and theologian Tim Keller once said that an idol is “anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.” Basically, an idol is anything that stands in the way of living a life wholly surrendered to God. These don’t necessarily need to be bad things; some can be great when you find the right balance. For example, making friends is fantastic, but when you are more concerned about growing closer to them than your Heavenly Father, it becomes an idol.

While you have been reading this, there may have been some things in your life that you identified as idols. Maybe, though, it isn’t that clear to you. That’s what can make this hard—there is no flashing neon sign reading “IDOL ALERT” that can always point them out.

Some of them are physical things that are easy to see in our lives:

  • Friendships (mentioned above)
  • Relationships (you would rather go on that date than go to church)
  • School (it doesn’t matter that you haven’t opened your Bible in a while, you have all A’s)
  • Video games (you spend hours playing games while neglecting your prayer life)

Then some things are harder to see because they are more mental idols:

  • Acceptance (willing to sacrifice faith for acceptance of others or to be accepted yourself)
  • Worry about the future (so worried that you deny the providence of God)
  • Social media (more focused on who’s following you than the One you should be following)
  • Politics (your frustration with another overpowers the love God calls us to live out)

There is always more we could think of, but now it is time for you to self-reflect. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation; your biggest idol will likely differ from mine. The one thing all idols have in common, though, is that they don’t deserve the attention we are giving them. In Exodus 20, God tells us, “You shall have no other gods before me” (verse 3). That attention, the kind we so often give to other things, is only for God.

Matthew 6:33 reminds us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness….” This is the life our Good Father has intended for us. We are excited to walk through this week with you, but first, let’s take today to identify our idols.

Questions to Consider:

  • What are some things that you can identify as idols in your life? Write them down.
  • What is something you are unsure if it is an idol in your life? Pray about this!
  • Are you willing to surrender these idols? That is what this whole week is about, so if you are not, pray that God would open your heart and mind so you are ready!

Written by Kate