The topic of idols of the heart is one of the main topics discussed in my book, “Experience Real Satisfaction” released in 2010. I believe it is an often overlooked principle in the Scriptures even though it is of such great importance. We are guilty in the 21st century, as are those in the past, of forsaking God as the fountain of living waters (Jeremiah 2:13).
Idols are “anything that takes the place in our lives that belongs only to God.” We must consider who or what has first priority with our time and resources. We should ask ourselves questions such as “Who has our first love?” “Who or what do we trust in?” “Where do we spend our money, our time?” For some Christians their spouse or children may have become an idol as well as their pastor. That’s difficult for us to imagine or admit but if we have allowed these persons to be #1 in our lives, then we have put them in a place that is God’s and God’s only.
The ministries where we serve, our church, our job, our material belongings all can become more important to us than our relationship with God. When this happens, we find ourselves in idolatry. We can ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and reveal these sometimes hidden idols of our hearts.
What else might be or become an idol in our life? Another idol we often overlook is ourselves. In our narcissistic culture, many times we ourselves are the #1 idol of our hearts. This is probably the most common amongst us, if we are honest about it.
Our fall into idolatry can be quite subtle. It begins with failing to spend time alone with God. We crowd Him out with the busyness of life thinking we will soon get back to Him. This is devastating to us as Christians. It is in this alone time that our confidence in God is strengthened. When we fail to spend personal time with God where we talk to Him and allow him to talk to us, we begin to experience emptiness. This is because God has created us in such a way that we need Him to pour Himself into us and we need this daily. Nothing else will do. Scripture says God has put eternity in our hearts and without the eternal One satisfying us, we begin to feel dissatisfied. This results in a temptation to find satisfaction from people and things in our lives. Our focus begins to move more and more from God to idols. Of course, they are unable to fill us completely but we get caught up in the fleeting contentment and purpose they bring to our lives and we tend to chase after them even more instead of seeking after God(Isaiah 44:20). Our attempt to satisfy ourselves with these idols is as useless as trying to quench the thirst of the desert sand (Isaiah 55:2).
Psalm 90:14 says, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Satisfaction begins and ends with receiving God’s unfailing love as a reality in our life. Ignoring God, results in losing an awareness of His love. This then results in dissatisfaction and a restless soul headed for idols.
Experience Real Satisfaction is available at Amazon.com, most local bookstores and my website at http://www.sarahgoebel.com.