Bible Study Blog

Invisible Idols

by Brandy Webb

When I was a child, I only thought that idols were statues that people bowed down to and worshipped. So, it was easy to say that I was not committing idolatry. As I have gotten older, I realize it is not always obvious when we are committing idolatry. I know I have said it before, but coveting is idolatry (Col 3:5). Therefore, when we look at that nice new car our neighbor just bought, and we wish we could get one too, well, we just coveted; therefore we broke two laws. Isn’t it awesome that we have a Savior who is very forgiving and patient!

The point is that there are invisible idols. These idols aren’t statues, pictures, symbols, etc., that people can see. They are things in our lives that we end up meditating on daily, worrying about, getting anxious over, striving after above anything else, and most importantly, putting above God the Father and Jesus our Messiah.

I’ll give you a personal example. I worry a lot about finances. It is something I have been trying to overcome for years. It is on my mind all the time, but this week, I realized I had turned finances/money into an idol. I am meditating on the wrong thing. God says He is above all things. The first three commandments are about Him: He is supreme, no idols, and don’t take His name in vain, but honor His name always (Exodus 20:2-7). He is most important, period.

Well, I know all this. It is the old saying, “It is easy to talk the talk, but hard to walk the walk.” I get caught up in bills, expenses, life in general, and see my bank account dwindle. When this happens, the worry tap comes on causing me to focus on the wrong things. God has always provided for us. I have never gone hungry. My children have always had adequate clothing. I have more than a lot of people in the world, so why do I worry about foolish things? I could give the easy answer, “Well, I’m human.” Or, I could really look deeper into it, and realize that, because my faith is lacking, I am “worshipping” the wrong thing.

The Messiah tells us not to worry (Matt 6:25). He even gives examples. We are not to worry about what we shall eat or what we shall wear (Matt 6:26). In other words, we are not to worry about whether or not we are going to have enough money to buy groceries or clothing or anything else that is just “stuff.” He points out that God provides for the birds of the air, and they don’t even have a place to store food (Matt 6:27). He clothes the lilies of the field even more beautifully than anything Solomon owned (Matt 6:28). Then, He tells us what we really should be “worrying” about because what we worry about is what is on our minds all the time. We are to “worry” about the Kingdom of God before any of our carnal desires. The Kingdom of God and His righteousness are what we should be meditating on all the time. This is what should be going over and over in our heads because it is eternal, and everything else is temporary.

We cannot “serve two masters. Either [we] will hate the one and love the other, or [we] will be devoted to the one and despise the other. [We] cannot serve both God and money” (Matt 6:24; Luke 16:13).

This is what has been going through my mind this week. It is hard to let go and trust totally in God because I don’t see Him physically. It is easy to get caught up in things I can see and touch, but that was the point thousands of years ago with Israel that caused them to fall away. They kept falling into idolatry because they wanted something physical to worship. When you can see what you are worshipping, it doesn’t require much faith, but believing in the Real Creator, the Real God, the One who is invisible right now, requires faith. This is why we have to have faith to please God (Heb 11:6), but He does reveal Himself in the creation around us and in the miracles that we witness from day to day. How awesome is it when our prayers are answered? That is God revealing Himself. We may be able to touch a dollar bill, but it can’t solve our problems. It can’t answer our prayers. It can’t heal our loved ones. It creates absolutely nothing.

I believe that there is an order to what should be priorities in my life. God the Father, Jesus my Savior, my husband, my children, and my family (relatives and my church family are included in this). Money should never come before any of these five. It isn’t that important. I’m ready to identify and destroy the invisible idols in my life because I want to be only devoted to one master.