Finding the Idols of Our Hearts, Part 3 – February 3, 2023

Watching children play a game of hide and seek is enjoyable. When they are young, they don’t know how to hide. We find humor as the child hides under the bed with their feet sticking out. However, as they get older, they get much better at hiding. When children play hide and seek, it is enjoyable. When our idols play hide and seek, it is serious. Our idols do not want to be identified. For then, we will be able to dispatch them. Over the last few weeks, we discussed why our idols are hard to spot. Today let’s discuss some practical ways to identify our idols.

How do I find my heart idols? How do I determine what has taken the place of God in my life? Often these are things that everyone around us can identify but we cannot see it. And so, as we seek wisdom from God, His Word, and His people, we can ask several diagnostic questions.

We must first ask the questions, “What do I spend my money on?” and “What am I willing to sacrifice for?” We spend money and sacrifice for the things we love. Sadly, many Christians are not interested in spending money on and sacrificing for God. They give what they deem they must but are unwilling to go beyond into actual sacrifice. Some view their service as a sacrifice. They assign some arbitrary number to their time and consider that as giving. Unfortunately, this simply reveals that they love their idols more than God. Christ reminds us, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21). We spend money on and sacrifice for what we value.

A second question we must ask is, “What does my time tell me?” You have heard the phrase. “You have time for what you make time for.” You spend your time on what you value. Your calendar informs all around you of the things you deem important. Sadly, many Christians value their sports and activities more than God. They are quick to miss corporate worship for athletic events or their hobbies. Then they wonder why their children rebel against God. They would find the answer if they looked at their calendar.

The third question is, “What does my attitude tell me?” What makes you angry, and what gets you excited? These are huge indicators of what you value. What sets off your temper, and what do you get mad about not receiving? What do you long for more than anything else? Are these things recognition, peace and quiet, or financial stability? And what do you fear the most? Do you fear financial hardship, family relationship struggles, your children failing, your health failing, or not being recognized for what you do? The answer to these questions reveals your idol.

The fourth question is, “What do my thoughts tell me?” About what do I find myself thinking? What do I find myself talking about most often? About what do I find myself worrying? You think about what you value. This is why Paul challenged us, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Finally, we should ask, “What does hardship tell me?” Often this is called chaos theory. What do you run to when you need refuge? Where do you go to feel safe and secure? Often the answer to this reveals your idol. This is why Jesus stated in Matthew 11:28, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

We all struggle with idols. A significant part of overcoming them is admitting that we have them. Once we have acknowledged our idol problem, we can begin to identify them. Once we have identified them, we can start to overcome them. Next week we will examine how to overcome our idols and obey John’s command, Little children, keep yourselves from idols.