Idol Worshipers


It's easy to see idol worship in others! But because we're blind and self-deceived, it's much harder to see it in ourselves.

Many years ago, I traveled to Northern India and was staying in one of the high and holy cities of Hinduism. It was my first time ministering there, so my hosts took me on a four-day introduction tour of the religion.

During the tour, we entered a temple that housed the most horrific idol I ever saw. I had no idea that things like this existed. It was a huge, maybe 20-foot-high, image of a male sexual organ.

Filling the temple were Hindu pilgrims, who had made their way with excitement and celebration to worship this idol. Many of them laid down flat on their stomachs before it; they kissed its base. It was one of the darkest spiritual scenes I ever experienced, and all I wanted to do was get out of the building.

As we left the temple and made our way back to the vehicle, I kept saying to myself, "Thank God I'm not like these people! Thank God I'm not like these people!" Then it hit me: I am like those people.

I have my idols, too. Just because they're not housed in a temple, and they aren't made out of bronze, and they're not the product of formal religion doesn't mean they don't exist. In fact, my idols may be even more dangerous, because they're so subtle and disguised among my everyday activities.

What is an idol? It's something in creation that claims the place in my heart that only God should have. Romans 1:25 says that we "exchange the truth about God for a lie and worship and served the created things rather than the Creator."

It's much easier for us to see where others, and our culture, worships idols. But when it comes to our own idol worship, we're blind and deceived. We convince ourselves and others that what we're actually worshiping isn't wrong, that it's something we need to exist, and that just a little more won't hurt us.

John counsels us, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 John 5:21). There is no greater argument for our need for grace than the ease with which our hearts fall under the rule of things other than God.

But that grace is yours for the taking. Cry out for it, then live empowered by it. Resist and run from the idols that challenge God's place in your heart.


  1. Identify an idol that our culture tends to return to again and again.
  2. What false hope does that idol promise? How does the truth of Christ offer more?
  3. Identify something in creation that you tend to return to again and again.
  4. What false hope does that idol promise? How does the truth of Christ offer more?
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