Because no one deserves that place.
1. You do it for God, but it comes before God.
Ok so this is basically the definition of idol, I know. But I want to put emphasis on the "for God" part. It is much easier to identify an idol that contradicts God's word (like certain music or drugs or money or *insert sin here*) than it is to recognize an idol that glorifies God.
Unfortunately, the things we do for God have just as much potential to become idols. Take my blog, for example. I do it for God, sure.
However when I write a post, but haven't spent time with God, my blog has become an idol. That might not be the case for everyone, but the Lord has convicted me in this area, so for me it is the case. Besides, I'm a scary person when I haven't spent time with God and am in no condition to be sharing my thoughts about anything anywhere ever at all.
It is not God's will for us to serve Him, without Him. We can do a lot of great things in Christ's name without ever experiencing true intimacy with Him. Something you're doing for God might be becoming an idol if you would rather do it than spend time with God.
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeit himself?
Luke 9:25 ESV
2. It has the ability to bring you up and down.
Up and down? You know like...ridiculously happy, then depressingly sad.
One of my favorite preachers, Mike Bickle, always says something along the lines of, "You will respond to someone's criticism with the same measure you respond to their praise." So if things are going really great and people keep reminding us that things are going really great, we might be tempted to think, "Wow, I have this under control. I'm so gifted. I have so much faith."
When truthfully, God deserves all the credit. Likewise, when something has the power to so drastically dictate our emotions, it might be taking the place of God.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Luke 12:34 ESV
3. If you check it before you pray.
This is similar to number one, except it doesn't have to be something we are specifically doing "for" God. It is simply what we check first. It could be Facebook...or SnapChat..or text messages...or Instagram. Anything. Well, except Twitter. Twitter can do no wrong.
Even Jesus woke up first thing in the morning to pray, and He's Jesus. There is something special about letting the Father's thoughts of you be the first opinion you hear all day.
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before the daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
Mark 1:35 NKJV
4. If it causes you to do things outside God's will.
Have you ever loved someone so much that you would go along with whatever they say? (Well, "loved" in quotations. Real love tells the truth.)
Things (and people) in our lives can have the same effect on us. Sometimes we are so passionate about what we are doing, that we don't even realize we've compromised and stepped outside of God's will.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 ESV
5. You get defensive about it.
You know that one thing that comes to your mind when you read posts like these? Or when you hear a sermon, or when someone in your life says something that makes you self-reflect.
And you know you need to surrender it to God and put it back in its rightful place. But it's just so much easier to stand up for it and brush it off as "not a big deal."
So you keep coming up with some way to justify it because, well...because it's becoming an idol.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV
1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV
(By the way, I wrote a post about 5 idols you NEVER seen coming, check it out here!)
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