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  • Writer's pictureJodi

Identify your Idols

Idols consume us. They eat away our time, our thoughts, our hearts, our imaginations. Very stealthily, idols tempt us, attract us, draw us in, and before we know it, we are devoured by them. The irony of this is we often don’t view most of the idols in our lives as idols. They don’t seem “bad” or “sinful”. In fact, in and of themselves, our idols are most likely all good things. Things that bring us happiness, joy, a sense of freedom and a feeling of living life to the fullest. However, anything or anyone that we prioritize over God, anything that becomes more important than Him, is an idol.

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As God rescued the nation of Israel from Egyptian slavery, He told them that they would be given an exalted position among the nations and become His treasured possession if they would separate themselves from worldly pleasures. He made it clear then, and He continues to speak candidly to us today when he commands, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

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As I have become more mature in my walk with God, I have also been more intentional when it comes to reflection. I spend a lot of time reflecting on the past: days, weeks, months, years; and at the end of every day, I reflect on what I did that day. What did I accomplish? How did I feel? What were my priorities? What didn’t I get done? What do I need to do tomorrow? As you can see, there are a lot of “I’s and “Me’s”. Where are the “What did God do in me today? What did He do for me? How did He work through me?” reflections? We all know how difficult it can be to find a healthy balance with work, family, friends, and faith life. We wear so many hats, and we often put too much pressure on ourselves to wear them all well. Often, unknowingly or unconsciously, we strive to be everything for everybody. We want to do all the things, fix all the things, be all the things, and manage all the things.

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Ever wonder why we are so tired, weary and worn down? One reflective examination of how we spend our time will, most likely, reveal idols that are consuming us. And, in all honesty, draining us of the life giving energy that only God can provide.

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Over the last few years, I have developed a routine that helps me keep my idols in check. I used to hit the ground running when my alarm would go off every morning. It was a “feet hit the floor, and get busy with my to do list kind of day.” Every. Day. Now, I purposefully make a concerted effort to spend time with God. First thing, every morning. Are there days I fail at this? Yes. But I try, and that’s all He is asking of us, friends. When I seek Him in the morning, I am diligent to keep my thoughts in an attitude of prayer and thanksgiving before I let my mind start thinking about doing anything else. By “anything else”, I mean the idols in my life. Yes, I have them. I know they are “idols” because on any given day, at many times during the day, I still find myself prioritizing these things above seeking God. Because these things, these people matter; they are important to me. I love them; I treasure them. But, I know I can love them better and give them the time and attention they deserve, if I seek, pursue, and connect with God first.

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Are we horrible people because we have idols? No. We are human beings. Is God mad at us for desiring fun, leisurely times of connection with our families, friends, and hobbies? No. He knows our lives, he understands the demands of our daily schedules. He is a loving God. He simply wants to connect with us. He wants us to seek Him with our whole hearts and minds, so that He can assure us that we can do all things through Him. He is a forgiving God, so let’s go ahead and forgive each other and ourselves when we don’t set aside that “quiet time” with God. Let’s simply try to do better each day. Let’s make every effort to seek, pursue and chase God first. We can talk to Him while we walk, shower, drive to work, make dinner….. you name it, there is never a time or place that we can’t find God, that He won’t hear us and answer. He just wants us to try, every day. He desires for us to desire Him above all else, so that He becomes the compass for what we seek, pursue and chase the rest of our day.

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Some of my idols include: my husband, my kids, my friends, teaching and lesson planning, reading and writing, exercising/yoga, watching TV or listening to podcasts, conquering my to do lists, tidying the house (inside and out), scrolling on my phone, indulging in food and drink. Yes, these are idols. They can, and they have, gotten in the way of my time with God. I have cut my time short with Him; I have skipped a prayer here and there; I have squeezed Him into my schedule as time allows, after everything else is “finished”. Here my friends is the answer to why we feel so tired, so weary, so worn down. We are given 24 hours a day. How we choose to spend that time makes all the difference.

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Spending our days idolizing the “gods” of our culture: success, achievement, money, physical appearances, family, leisure, food, and comfort will leave us feeling wrung out. Giving ourselves away to attain these things will leave us feeling empty and depleted. What if we spend our time, efforts, and energy actively pursuing the one and only true God before we grasp at other things in hopes of them making us happy? Might we then find authentic joy, peace, rest, comfort, and satisfaction? I believe we will be given all we could ever need, if we give ourselves to Him.

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So take some time. Do some reflection. Ask yourself, “What are the idols in my life?”


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