It's Not Always a Golden Calf

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Ok, so check it. I have a confession to make: I worship idols.

I don’t like this about myself, and I pray about it constantly. But I still do it.

And I bet you do, too.

I’m gonna ask you to unclutch your pearls and hang with me for a second. When we think of idols, most of our minds go to the scene in the Bible where the Israelites built a golden calf to worship because it had taken Moses too long to come down from Mount Sinai (study Exodus 31-32). We think of the shrine a lead character in Lifetime movies has built to worship the man she’s stalking. We sometimes go to the extremes of how we envision sin so we can say things like, “Oh, I’m not that bad.” This is how we view idols too. We think of the worst possible thing someone could worship, and as long as we don’t have those things in our lives, we are good. But removing the mental image in your head for a second, let’s examine our hearts.

An idol for me lately has become looking for a home. Owning a home is a goal for a lot of people, and it’s a good goal, but it can become tainted in the pursuit. When scrolling through Zillow takes up my entire lunch break, and I spend most of my day creating new Pinterest boards to spend money I don’t even have for decor, it might be an idol. In a season of life where I feel like I am fighting to rebuild, it’s something I can control. Or I’ve told myself I can. It’s far easier to believe that we can create our own feelings of contentment or control our own satisfaction in life. I am so guilty of this. Owning a home isn’t bad, but how I pursue it and my motivations can turn impure if I’m not careful of its place in my heart. That’s how you measure the level in which you’ve created an idol out of something.

Your turn. Is there anything in your life that you’ve elevated in your heart to a position that taints the goodness of said thing? If God knows our hearts, won’t you have the courage to ask Him?

It might be an idol if:

  • It is what I daydream about the most.

  • It is what I most enjoy talking about.

  • It is what I fear losing the most.

  • It is what I most enjoy reading about.

  • It is what I most love spending money on.

  • It is what I look to for heart-rejuvenation.

And I’m sorry, friend, but it’s also an idol if:

  • It causes me to disobey God.

  • It gives me greater joy than Christ.

Can I go one step further? There have been times when I’ve made an idol out of my pain, elevating what I feel or my hard circumstances over the promise of healing and restoration that God promises to all of us in Christ. Do not hear me saying get over it because those words will never escape my lips. What I am talking about is perspective. We can sometimes elevate our pain in ways that keep us stuck in cycles instead of gaining strength and gleaning knowledge of who God is through these hard seasons.

Idols are what consume you instead of you being consumed by God. With this definition, ask yourself again: what are my idols?

There’s Hope. God promises that as we pray and meditate on the Word, the Holy Spirit will so satisfy us in Christ that our idols are destroyed.

I’ve been learning to renew my mind with the words of God, and this thought: Even if I don’t get the house I want, or I have to wait a little longer, God, you are enough. I encourage you to create your own ‘even if’ statement to begin casting down the things that have consumed you. Empty yourself so that you leave room for God’s grace, mercy, and peace to consume you as you wait for the desires of your heart to be fulfilled. I encourage you not to hold on to anything tighter than you hold to the promise of God to be with you and to keep you.

Be encouraged

Terasha Burrell