What is an idol?
An idol is anything which is put in the place of God in your life.
Particularly it is anything which you worship or spend much time thinking about.
Inevitably it is something or someone which you would gladly talk about almost
The purpose of this document is to identify what an idol is and how to check
if you have one. If you then find yourself as with an idol and you do not wish
this, you can then begin to address that with help of a prayer at the end.
An idol can be an object, a person, a teaching or idea or, anything which
takes up the place of God. It is particularly relevant to believers as it is
that which is placed before the God whom they know. For the Christian it is that
which is put before God and His kingdom - His purposes. Jesus said:
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father
and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also,
he cannot be My disciple.
The moment you become a Christian you are in a warfare footing. You are in
God's army and you have an enemy: the Devil and his minions. He knows that you
become less effective for the Kingdom of God if you place anything as of greater
value than God or, His purposes. And that is what happens on a regular basis if
you have an idol.
This is so fundamental to the warfare believers are involved in that Satan
has made available demons to deceive believers specifically in the area of
idols. These will deceive believers to believe and to go on believing something
is more important than God at any level. We know demons are directly involved
where idols are concerned because Paul stated:
What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or
what is offered to idols is anything? But I say that the things which the
Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want
you to have fellowship with demons.
1 Corinthians 10:19-20
What are the effects of having an idol?
The attention and love you have for God and the attention and love you have
for people is directly affected by an idol.
Because the idol is felt important it causes all contact with others who
have stated otherwise to be shunned or, looked down upon. They are the
ones 'missing out'. Knowing this idol, is more important than knowing those who
do not think so. The way others are treated is a good indicator of having an
Another good indicator of an idol is how captivated you are with Jesus, your
Lord in worship. When in fellowship with other believers, during worship an idol
will come to mind regularly. If, as mentioned above you are with others who do
not see the importance you have for your idol, then in worship times another
sign is to be conscious of those people and think of them as needing help -
incomplete or, even harmful.
Why should these effects occur?
As the scripture above shows demons have a direct interest in idols. This
being so they feed the mind with accusations about others. They remind the idol
worshipper of the idol to take the place of the Lord in a worship time. They
will direct the individual to the idol when insecurities are present.
As with any deception the classic fruits apply: domination (control),
isolation, exclusivity, accusing of the brethren. With an idol this is in direct
link to that idol. If the idol is a teaching or, an idea then as Jesus stated:
. . . wisdom is justified by all her children.
In other words, the teaching even though it may be good in itself is held in
higher esteem than the Lord or, the Kingdom. The teaching is not held as a tool
for a job, but as the tool, the master, the answer. The believer acts as child
of the teaching. You don't hold it; it holds you.
The outworking of this is that if you are in leadership then anything the
Lord wishes to do with someone else can be quenched or redirected in accord with
the idol. Progress is made if the idol is given it's proper due. If someone has
a call from the Lord to do something and there are steps towards that which are
known, the idol is often imposed as needing to be addressed before this calling
or these steps are freely permitted.
The teaching will be carried out regularly lest a lack of faithfulness to
the idol is perceived. Shelves of this idea or teaching will be full of books
prominently displayed. Preaching involves mentioning this idol regularly - often
without fail - right down to including it or, making it the prominent theme in
say, a wedding speech or sermon. Is this putting the couple first and that
Demons not only accuse the 'unbeliever' in the mind of the idol worshipper,
but they will where access is given, place or, impose whatever feelings they can
on the 'unbeliever' to make them bow to the 'believer'. Or, to seek help from
the 'believer' - the idol worshipper. The standing of the 'unbeliever' in the
minds of the 'believer' is affected by the 'taking on board' of the feelings as
their own. These kind of feelings can outwardly look very real and honest. But
the 'unbeliever' is actually not reacting out of himself or herself, but out of
what is spiritually imposed. If the 'unbeliever' truly submits to these then
they become a 'believer' in the minds of the idol worshipper and are 'accepted'.
Lasting peace and security do not come from this however and further 'bowing
down' is felt as the way forward whilst in fact the opposite is true. Jesus
alone is the source of peace.
I have borrowed much of the prayer at the end of my document entitled
The Characteristics of Deception. If in reading you are already conscious
of an idol then be honest with God and share this with Him. Turn from following
this idol and instead hold it in its proper place. It may be valuable and
important, but never as important as The Lord and His purposes. Ask for His help