As I’ve said before, one of my goals in writing this blog is to help Christians evaluate their hearts so that they can identify the things, people, and experiences they often love and serve in the place of God. In short, I want to help you see the idols of your heart. But my desire does not stop there. The only way that identifying your idols will do you any good is if you tear them off of the throne of your heart and replace them with Christ, the rightful King, so you can give him the honor he deserves. Before we get there, however, we’ve got to start with idol detecting.
I’ve said in the past that we can know what our idols are when we discover what we desire and enjoy more than God in any given moment. If we desire something more than God, then we will sin to get it or sin if we don’t get it. This is what James reveals in chapter four of his letter when he writes, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you (v. 1 a)? You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel (v. 2 b).”
But desire is only one side of the coin when it comes to identifying idols. At times it may be difficult for you to pinpoint exactly what you desire more than God. Perhaps you do not see yourself as someone who chases after pleasure and seeks to indulge every impulsive desire in your heart. Therefore, asking yourself the question of ultimate desire isn’t as helpful for you as it is with others. So, is there some other question to ask yourself that will help you see the things you put in place of God? I think the other side of the coin is to ask yourself what you fear most. It’s kind of a roundabout way of discovering the things that you often treat as most important. If what a woman fears most is rejection from a certain group of people, then she probably sees approval, acceptance, and recognition as most important. If what a man fears most is being stuck in a job that only pays $40k a year for the rest of his life, then he probably sees comfort and convenience as most important. The question of fear is really just another way of asking what we want, and what we want gives us a good idea of the things we often serve in the place of God.
The discovery of an idol in our hearts reveals a gaping spiritual wound that we cannot expect to heal on its own. Fortunately, you can be confident that there is a balm for that wound found only in Christ and the promises that God gives us in him. More on that in the future.