In His first Commandment, God addresses the issue of idolatry in our lives.  Finding gods to serve is natural to our humanness. We are, as John Calvin said, “idol factories”.  An idol is any “god” that I place at the center of my life.  We can make idols out of our careers, our children, our significant other, our bodies, people’s acceptance of us, our morality, our intelligence, etc, etc.The Bible clearly shows us that we give certain things to our idol, and understanding this helps us identify our idols.

We LOVE our idol.  We love it most. We are devoted to it, passionate about it, and think about it all the time.
We SERVE our idol.  We work hard to satisfy it’s demands and expectations.  When it seems that we are falling short of its demands, our emotions (anger, worry, fear, envy) tip us off that we are not measuring up to our idol’s expectations.
We TRUST IN our idol. We truly expect that if we  succeed in satisfying our idol, it will bring us joy, contentment and meaning.  

So, what is the most common idol we Americans look to?  I think we most commonly share the same idol that the Babylonians did 2500 years ago….. 

Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—guilty people, whose own strength is their god  (Habakuk 1:11).  ​


We depend on ourselves, our personal abilities, resources and talents to get us by.  When they do not serve us well, our discouragement, anger, despair, etc., let’s us know they failed us.  God reminds us that those very inadequacies are tip-offs that we are trusting in the wrong thing.  In our “weakness” He shows Himself to be our strength (II Corinthians 12:9-10).  God continually calls us to clear the stage of our lives by repenting of our idols and giving our love, service and trust to the living God.

Mark Willey