We all experience idol thoughts in our life because our brains are literally wired for it.
Do you day dream about having more? Living a different life? Owning something you don't have right now? Being somewhere that seems out of reach?
There have actually been studies that show we daydream 48% of the day! This isn't necessarily a bad thing as long as it doesn't become an obsession. Dreaming about where you want to go is also called "hope", "inspiration" and "motivation." It becomes an idol when we hold it higher than our values, beliefs or faith.
So, what is an idol?
An idol is anything that is more important to you than God … that you ask to give you what only God can give you … that you depend on for happiness … that you can’t bear the thought of losing.
The most common forms of idols are: possessions, pleasure and power.
This doesn't mean that these things are "bad." We just need to pay very close attention when our thoughts drift into these lanes of desire.
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. (1 Timothy 4:4, NIV)
Each potential idol also has a cure that can protect and prevent them from having a negative impact on our lives.
Idols related to a specific POSSESSION such as money, success, cars, homes can be overcome by GIVING first before we ask or pursue.
If giving up or "losing" something is a challenge that could be a sign that possession has become an idol for you. Always remember, we can't take anything from here with us when we go and we are not judged by what we accumulated.
Ask yourself: exactly how much do I give of what I earn?
Secondly, PLEASURE can become an idol that is worshiped higher than God. When someone breaks a covenant with their spouse or significant other due to the though temporary pleasure will provide "more" happiness than pleasure has become an idol.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20, NLT)
When we realize our body does not belong to us but to God the respect we have for others is lifted higher as it is the same for them. The body we have is the same one Jesus Christ sacrificed for us so we could be saved. When we disrespect our body or someone else's than we are turning away from God.
The cure for serving an idol of pleasure is: FIDELITY. Make a commitment today that you will respect pleasure as a gift, not a right.
Finally the third category of idols is POWER.
Power could also be seen as "success", being "famous" or an "influencer." Again, none of these are bad if the intention is to attain these these so you can be a light for others. The brighter a light is shined the more of an positive impact it can have on others and conversely for the darkness.
“You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.” (Mark 10:42-44, NLT)
Leadership should be something that represents how many have been served, not by the power someone can have over a group of people.
The cure for an idol of power is: SERVE!
Get out in the world and provide value to others more than they could ever expect. Instead of pursuing followers, pursue empowering others. Instead of wanting more likes, give more smiles. Instead of going after success, go after how many lives you can positively impact.
Remember... daydreaming, hoping, praying, wanting, seeking, asking or desiring are not bad things. They can propel us to become the person God wants us to be. They only have a negative impact on us when we lift them higher than our values, beliefs and faith!