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Modern Day Idolatry: Do You Serve More Than One God?

Idolatry today rarely takes the form of carved idols but remains a real issue Christians must address. Anything we cling to tightly can become an idol we end up serving. Today, we will explore three valuable tips to identify and defeat modern idolatry and some common areas in our day and age that people struggle with.

Key Takeaways

• Technology, social media, work, wealth, fitness, entertainment, popularity, relationships, consumerism, and self-image are common modern idols.

• When something is too painful to give up, it may have control over us and become an idol.

• Repent and surrender idols to God by asking for forgiveness and renouncing loyalty to them.

Modern Day Idolatry

10 Common Modern Day Idolatry List

Below are 10 of the most common ways in our day and age that people can fall into modern idolatry by placing other things above God in their lives:

  1. Technology: Excessive reliance on gadgets like phones and digital platforms leads to neglect of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual well-being.

  2. Social Media: Obsessive focus on likes, followers, and virtual validation, overshadowing real-life connections and values.

  3. Work/Career: Making professional success the ultimate goal, potentially neglecting family, health, and spiritual growth.

  4. Wealth: Pursuing material wealth at the expense of spiritual and moral values, equating success solely with financial achievements.

  5. Fitness/Body Image: An obsession with physical appearance or fitness that takes precedence over mental and spiritual health.

  6. Entertainment: Excessive consumption of media, video games, or other forms of entertainment, distracting from meaningful relationships and spiritual pursuits.

  7. Popularity/Approval: Constantly seeking approval from others, making popularity and social acceptance an idol.

  8. Relationships: Placing romantic relationships or friendships above one’s relationship with God, making them the primary source of identity and fulfillment.

  9. Consumerism: Excessive focus on acquiring possessions or constantly seeking the latest trends, overshadowing the pursuit of spiritual contentment.

  10. Self-Image: An unhealthy preoccupation with self-image, self-esteem, or comparing oneself to societal standards, neglecting the importance of inner character and spiritual growth.

Modern Day Idolatry List

How to Defeat Idolatry In Our Lives

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. – Exodus 20:3

I have read a few books on dealing with idolatry, an unusual topic that most Christians avoid exploring deeply or asking themselves tough personal questions about.

But the truth is that we are plagued by modern-day idols. They don’t look like the ones we read in the Bible. They are not made of stone or carved out of wood. We don’t spend time polishing them because they are made of gold or silver. Even though in some parts of the world, those man-made tactual idols are still around.

Us westerners don’t tend to be fond of them, we prefer idols of a different nature. But no matter how the cookie crumbles, it’s the same thing. It’s an image that we have lifted up higher than God.

When we are unwilling to let go of something, we are holding on to it too tightly. The thing is that it’s not the whole picture.

We need to realize that it’s not I who is holding on, but the very thing we long for is holding and controlling us.

Causing us to willfully giving up our power and self-control because we have become a slave to a desire.

We need it.

We want it.

We must have it in our life…

We have bowed down to an image that is not our God.

Remember, these idols are not little statues of metal, wood, or clay. It’s anything our heart is not willing to hold loosely before God.

It is those things that become idols of the heart. But an idol in and of itself is not always evil or wrong. Usually, it’s our fleshly nature that corrupts something that was meant for good.

“They worshiped the lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.” – 2 Kings 17:33

It’s crazy to think that your heart and your mind can be divided like that, but it’s true. (Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.- James 1:8).

Sometimes, as Christians, we think we are automatically in the safe zone as long as we are doing the right stuff. But sometimes, without even knowing it, we start to serve other gods because of our culture and customs, just like what happened in 2 Kings.

I think the most interesting thing about idols of the heart is that we are willing to serve them.

When we look it up in the Strongs Concordance, we see that “serve” in Hebrew literally means “work” or “toil.”

עָבַד ʻâbad, aw-bad’; a primitive root; to work (in any sense); by implication, to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.:— be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, husbandman, keep, labour(-ing man, bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve(-ing, self), (be, become) servant(-s), do (use) service, till(-er), transgress (from margin), (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper,

We will do whatever it takes to satisfy that idol(s).

Here are some tips that have helped me identify and defeat things in my life that I have felt my heart has grown too fond of.

4 Tips To Identify & Defeat Idolatry In Your Life

lady who idolizes money and looks

1. It hurts!

Ouch, that hurts! 

If the thought of giving something up hurts too much, then it has some form of power and control over you. You value whatever it is so much that it would cause pain if you had to give it up.

  • We see this a lot with people who have an addiction. The idea of giving up something they are dependent on can be unbearable.
  • A modern example is the thought of giving up social media, TV, or phone usage – it would be painful for many.
  • So, be honest and ask yourself hard questions. If it hurts to think about giving something up, pay attention as it may be an idol.

2. Where Do You Spend Your Time?

You have probably heard the phrase, “time is money.” This is because time is extremely valuable. And how you spend your time will show you where your heart is. Idols love to consume your time and attention.

  • Take an honest look at your time usage – what takes up your hours in a day or week?
    • Are entertainment, social media, work, or relationships taking up excessive amounts?
    • Do these areas preoccupy your thoughts even when not engaging directly?
  • Track your time spent on different things for a week. This quantified data reveals what occupies your mental energy and what crowds out spiritual growth and self-care.
  • You may discover some difficult truths that certain things have subtly become idols as they take priority over God and other healthy areas. Awareness is the first step.
  • Ask God to search your heart and show where you need more margin for eternal priorities.

Remember, this process may be hard initially, but freedom awaits on the other side as you recalibrate around things that matter most!

3. Where Do You Spend Your Time?

Along with how you spend time, evaluating where your money and financial resources go can also be very telling when uncovering hidden idols. Oftentimes our spending habits reveal where our treasure is.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:21

  • Look honestly at your monthly budget and spending patterns – what categories dominate?
    • Is there excessive spending on comforts, entertainment, possessions, and striving for status symbols?
  • Specifically, track expenses in detail to make unconscious spending visible. You may be surprised where a lot of money flows out towards.
  • Evaluate spending against principles of biblical stewardship, simplicity, and storing up eternal treasures.
  • What we spend on shapes values – either towards excess worldly comforts or generous giving to God’s Kingdom.
  • Are vital needs being neglected as a result of an idol?

Idols often hide unseen in spending habits formed overtime. Careful examination and willingness to change realigns lifestyle with following Jesus first.

4. Repent & Surrender

Now, if it’s an addiction or a sin issue that has become an idol, then you need to repent. Yes, REPENT.

You have been relying upon and serving an idol while still worshiping God. Ask God to forgive you and renounce your loyalty to the false idol. Repenting and surrendering this area of your life is your first step towards freedom. Jesus made it very clear that you can’t serve two masters.

There was a time in my life that I valued ministry a little too much. The thought of not being in full-time ministry killed me.

I had to learn to give that over to the Lord and repent for putting my calling above my relationship with Him. I had to let it go. It was a painful process but at the same time, powerful. And God is quick to help us if we will just ask.

Ask for strength and wisdom during those times of laying things down.

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Wednesday 6th of September 2017

Thank you writing this. I am actually fixing to pull back again from some things, as I often do from time to time to get refocused. Your post confirms it for me, along with some other ways He has spoken to me. I love you blog! I am glad I found ya over at Grace Girls.~

Have a great week!

Timberley @ Living Our Priorities

Wednesday 6th of September 2017

What a great post. Being seasonal with our passions is a great suggestion. Thank you for sharing your post. I pinned it for our Living Our Priorities community. Stopping by from By His Grace Bloggers.