Anything can become an idol.
Your idols, my idols…they usually don’t start out as bad things. Most of us aren’t practicing witches or busy carving little men made out of wood and then dipping them in gold and praying to them.
BUT. I have the temptation to hold something in my hands and squeeze it and want it to bring me fulfillment and joy. Sometimes it’s my ministry. Sometimes it’s expectations of my family. Sometimes it’s financial stability. But no matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I squeeze - there’s no life in these things.
Whatever it is that you can’t stop thinking of. Whatever it is that you’re ‘addicted to’. Whatever it is that you obsess about…if it ain’t Jesus…it’s an idol.
Most of the time our idols started out as gifts; things or relationships God gave us. But after some time, we expect more and more from them. We wrap up our identity in them. They make us feel secure and safe. And before we know it, we’re trusting them in the areas we should be trusting God.
Habakkuk puts it like this: “That [idol] is your teacher? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, yet there is no breath at all inside it.” (2:19)
Why do we try to worship and ultimately serve things that have no breath in them…things that are lifeless? Why do we wrap our entire lives around jobs that suck us dry or material things that fall apart? Maybe it’s because we can see them. Maybe it’s because they gave us a rush of pleasure at one point and we’re hoping it’ll happen again.
I have to remind myself, there’s no life found in idols. There’s no life found even in the gifts of God. The only place to find breath, life, joy and peace is in the abiding presence of God.
God’s word is clear; it’s replete with what we’re do do with idols: SMASH THEM. The most dangerous place to be in the Christian walk is thinking we’re walking close to God, when we’re really cozier with our idol than with our Father. Your idol and your God aren’t meant to cohabitate.