While there is really only one true God, in our fallenness we often times idolize many other things, thus treating them like gods. But how do we identify idols of the heart?
Control is the name of the game when it comes to being a god or God. One of the qualities of divinity is doing what you want, when you want, and why you want. This truth can help us identify idols of the heart.
When we idolize someone or something, we will be controlled by them. Therefore, if you want to know what your gods are, all you have to do is identify what controls you.
Idols of the Heart Reveal Themselves in Our Knee-jerk Reactions
Like puppets on a string, we have knee-jerk reactions to our idols.
Do you instantly freak out when someone cuts you off on the highway? Perhaps respect is your god.
Do you withdrawal into your own inner world whenever a certain individual’s name is mentioned who you use to have a significant relationship with? Perhaps you have made relationships your idol.
Do you instantly bust-out your credit card when you see that advertisement for the next hottest tech? Perhaps materialism is your god.
Whatever you react to (obey) is the god of your heart. For whatever is in our hearts always reveals itself in our actions (Luke 6:45).
This is why works are so important within Christianity. Our good works are the evidence that God is the one we are reacting to. We can know God is Lord of our heart when we can identify a life lived in response to his commands.
In many modern American churches, the “W” word (works) is heresy. They are correct to emphasize that we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ alone, but they are wrong to say that works don’t matter (read 1 John and James).
We are certainly not saved by our works, but what we do proves what we believe. Whoever is pulling your strings on a consistent, regular basis throughout your life is who your god, or God, really is. We mustn’t seek to do good to get close to God, but if we notice that our life is full of bad it may mean we don’t really know him. Our actions are the symptoms, not the solutions to our problems.
Identify Idols of the Heart So You Can Enjoy God
So let us pay attention to what or who is controlling us, not so we can seek to be saved through our efforts, but so we can make sure Jesus is really in control of our life. If he isn’t, or hasn’t been for a period of time, repent. God sent Jesus to cut the false strings that are linked to evil puppeteers seeking to manipulate us. Only when we are free from idols and manipulators will be able to enjoy God as he intends.
1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God can cut the strings and bond you to himself with cords of unfailing love. But to be free we must first admit we are in bondage. This is why it’s so important to identify idols of the heart.