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The Key to Destroying Your Idols

It all started with a fruit and one command: don’t eat. A simple test of trust. Do Adam and Eve trust God and his authority?

But you know the story and you know it doesn’t end here. No, it ends with Adam and Eve rebelling against this one command and ultimately, putting themselves in the place of God— thinking they knew best.

Ever since the Fall, mankind has struggled with this. Naturally, we don’t want to serve God. We’d rather serve anything other than God. Even as born-again Christians we still face this same problem— idolatry.

One of the trickiest things about idolatry is that it’s not quite as simple as just kicking it to the curb (not that any sin is really that simple). Not only do we often want to cling to idolatry— we’re talking about our idols here after all— but we usually aren’t even aware of what we are putting above God to begin with.

So how do we figure it out?

The answer: we don’t.

Whatever we’re idolizing isn’t the problem. Most of the time, our idols are perfectly fine things in and of themselves, stuff like material possessions, relationships, entertainment, people’s opinions, friends or family, food— you name it, it’s someone’s idol. But when you look at the core of all of these things, they’re not actually bad. Even when it is innately bad, it’s not the idol that’s making us idolize it. It’s how we value it that matters; our heart, in other words.

Now, you could focus on finding that idol and bringing it down to its proper place, but without Christ at the top, our heart is simply going to raise something else there instead, repeating the cycle. We’d be fighting an ultimately pointless battle.

Instead of focusing on finding our idols and lowering them from their pedestal, we need to focus on Christ and putting him there instead.

Is this to say you should ignore the things you tend to idolize and simply wait for them to magically disappear as you put Christ at the center? Yes and no.

First, if you really are putting Christ at the center, you will actively destroy your idols. It’s not a passive thing and we can’t use it as an excuse to secretly hold onto sin. (Technically you could, but that’s just called being dishonest.) But at the same time, purposely spending our time hunting down idols isn’t going to help us fix the real problem. Instead, it's going to end up wasting the time we could have spent focused on God and his will, which would have directly targeted the real problem. 

Yes, we have to deal with our idols. Yes, we have to put them back in their proper place. But unless we do all this with Christ in mind, we will get nowhere. A simple thing, maybe even self-explanatory, but something that’s all too easy to forget and a whole lot harder to do than it sounds.

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