A young father was reading Bible stories from the book of Daniel with his children. While reading about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, he wanted to get the children to think about what idolatry was. So he asked, “What kind of idols do we have in our world today?” The kids offered several ideas about what could be an idol in modern life: toys, smartphones, work, friends… Finally, his eight-year-old said, “You know something’s an idol if you think you could never be happy without it.”
That’s not a bad definition. We hold so many things dear to us: money, power, family, possessions. Could we be happy without them? There are many things we would miss if they were taken from us, but ultimately, what are we putting our confidence in? Do we really trust God for everything necessary for life?
It’s hard to see the idols that we place within our hearts. We don’t often examine this area and it is easy to ignore. Over and over again in the Bible, we are warned to avoid idolatry, so we know that there is a human tendency to trust in idols more than God. After talking about practical Christian living, the Apostle John ends his letter with this command: “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21) That’s a good word for all of us.
We are fortunate to have so much abundance in our world today. What we really need to work on is making sure that our trust is not placed in the idols of our age. Don’t let anything get in the way of your walk with Jesus.