When was the last time someone in your small group or that accountability partner confessed a deep and painful struggle with the sin of . . . idolatry? It's not one of those sins that we are often mindful of yet it's undoubtedly something that knocks on our door on a daily basis. Yet it may be closer to your doorstep than you think.
But what is it and how do I know if it's infiltrated the ranks of my heart? An idol is "whatever claims that loyalty which belongs to God alone (Is. 42:8)."1 It could be sports, food, hobbies, reading -- even great things like serving in church or your family.
So in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy, it might be idolatry if...
1) ...you find yourself face down on the floor paying homage to a carved, painted or otherwise fashioned statue, picture or some other object. I'm stating the obvious, but thought it shouldn't be left unsaid.
2) ...you find that you spend a disproportionate amount of money on it
3) ...you find that you spend more time with it than you do with God
4) ...you are not "complete" without it
5) ...you find yourself constantly worrying about it
6) ...you get angry when you can't have it
7) ...you want it really, really badly (Ephesians 5:5, Colossians 3:5)
8) ...you can't stop thinking about it (Philippians 3:19)
The great news of the Gospel is the hope that it offers. Freedom from the shackles of sin. Be it anger, porn, laziness or idolatry; I don't have to enslaved. And one of the greatest remedies to idolatry is getting a fresh look at God and beginning to see him as the great treasure that he is. He truly is much better than idolatry. He is unbelievably more satisfying that that addiction, that hobby that's taken over or that fear that grips you. Spending time with him really will gratify your urges far more than your idol.
Don't settle for idolatry and may you see him as the great God that he is.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8)
1 J. A. Motyer, "Idolatry" In , in New Bible Dictionary, ed. D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard et al., 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 496.