Living Free: How to Spot and Smash Idols in your Life
Humans are prone to idolatry, aren’t we? We turn our worship away from God and find ourselves trapped in all sorts of lies—wrong thinking, which leads to sin and death. In our everyday lives, idolatry is at the heart of our captivity to sin in the same way Israel’s idolatry led to their captivity in exile so many moons ago.
The prophetic books are replete with accusations of Israel’s leaders and warnings of coming consequences for their idolatry and injustice. At the same time, the prophets continuously sketch portraits of extraordinary hope in God’s redeeming love and provide ample opportunity to Israel for repentance and reunification with God. Instead of repenting, God’s people harden their hearts. It’s this hardening of heart that eventually causes God to hand Israel over into exile.
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, reflects on Israel’s idolatry as well. Open to Romans 1:21-25 for reference. What can we learn from Paul’s insight and the stories depicted in the prophets about keeping ourselves from idolatry?
Isaiah foretold a day when, wherever God’s people went, they would hear their teacher’s voice guiding them and be empowered to smash their idols (Isaiah 30:21-22). Here is the thing, we’re living in the fulfillment of that promise through Christ. You and I have access today to God’s voice and the power of His Spirit to renounce the idols we are clinging to within.
In light of this amazing truth, here’s a three-step plan to help you spot and smash the idols in your life and walk in the glorious freedom God provides to us in Christ.
Honor God. Give thanks. Worship Him!
Why? Because God created humans for worship. If we aren’t worshiping Him, we’re worshipping something or someone else.
What we worship has huge implications because we become like that which we worship.
Meditate on Psalm 100:2-5.
Ask God to shine a light on darkened places in your heart and mind. Resist self-righteousness through confession.
Notice, Paul says in Romans 1 that the Israelites’ hearts were darkened and they fell into the foolishness of claiming to be wise. Similarly, the desert fathers of our faith taught that self-righteousness is the cord that keeps us bound in idolatry. We must ask God to open our eyes to His reality, rather than choosing to be wise in our own eyes.
Ask God to shine a light on the dark places in your heart and mind and reveal your idols to you. Pray Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:17-18a, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened.”
Allow the eyes of your heart to be enlightened and receive the wisdom of heaven that comes to you through God’s Spirit. Agree with God through confession of whatever He brings conviction about.
3. Exchange the lie for the truth.
The lie we get trapped in is the “darkening” that occurs in our minds when we’re in a state of idolatry. If we worship something other than God, then our thinking becomes warped. We must ask God to renew our minds and deliver us from our wrong thinking (Romans 12). The lie you’re believing might be about you or God. Either way, we get to exchange a false idea for the truth.
Pray David's prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24
Trade the lie about yourself for the truth about yourself. God created us in His image so that we can radiate His glory to the world. If we are believing the lie that we are anything less than God’s beloved, we degrade ourselves. Exchange the lie for the truth. Spend time worshipping Jesus and ask Him who He says you are. See Isaiah 43:1.
Trade the lie about God for the truth about God. Maybe the lie you’re believing is that God is holding out on you or that He doesn’t truly have your best interests in mind? Maybe you’re believing God isn’t enough? Ask Him to fill you with confidence in His character. Ask Him to deliver you from fear. Ask Him to help you abide in His love and trust Him alone. See Isaiah 44:6-8.
The beautiful thing about this process is that we get to keep practicing it. We get to live out steps 1-3 on repeat. What other appropriate response is there when God frees you from idolatry and leads you into renewal? Praise and glory be to our God alone. And what a joy it is to be His beloved. Here’s to freedom in Him, and living the glory-to-glory life in Christ. Clean hands, pure hearts, can’t lose.
Follow our Contributing Writer - Hollie Golden