An idol is anything that takes the place of God in our hearts and lives. Idols are destructive because they lure us away from God and even from people, but idols aren’t always obvious and evil. We can make idols out of anything in life, even the good things.
Even a good thing can become a bad thing when it becomes the ultimate thing. The thing itself doesn’t have to be evil. If your heart is wrong toward it, that thing can become an idol. A lot of our focus can be on gaining relationships, whether it’s being part of a certain friend group or having a girlfriend or boyfriend. Who you choose to spend your time with can consume a lot of your thoughts and control your actions. Don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend without any purpose, seeking validation, comfort, or status by having them in your life.
Even relationships can easily become idols. If it happened to Jacob in the Bible, it could happen to you (Genesis 29:16-18). When you prioritize having a relationship with someone else over spending time building a relationship with God, you take something that was meant to be good and turn it into something bad for you. Jacob worked seven years to marry the attractive Rachel and spent that portion of his life pursuing Rachel instead of pursuing God.
Idol worship blinds us from seeing straight. When you elevate something or someone to that ultimate place, you end up buying into lies (Genesis 29:20-21). Jacob was so consumed by having Rachel that he ignored the deception he could have seen in Laban. When we get consumed with our boyfriend, girlfriend, or even friends, we can get so caught up to the point that we ignore signs that we are being pulled away from Christ and that our lives are no longer directed toward Him.
• The Greatest Commandment helps us keep our priorities in line. Jesus said, “Love God, love people” (Matthew 22). If we remember to do it in that order, we’ll keep good stuff from taking first place in our lives. Here’s how:
▪ Seek validation primarily from God and recognize that his Word is more important than anyone else’s, even your boyfriend, girlfriend, or friends.
▪ Do not compromise your beliefs to impress or please others because they cannot save you from your sins or determine your eternity.
Remember, God created you and he is the only one who help you live a life that is worth living. Don’t make the same mistake the Israelites did in the Old Testament:
Romans 12:15 (MSG) And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them.
God is so much more than any good thing on this earth. He’s powerful, loving, and passionate about helping you. Remember to keep the good things in their rightful place and to put God as the ultimate thing.