Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
1 John 5:21 ESV
Idols have been described as good things that become god things. There’s nothing good about a stereotypical idol like a Buddha statue or those in a Hindu temple. But idolatry is often more insidious than that.
Money isn’t wrong in and of itself. But although money makes a good servant, it makes a terrible master who is never satisfied however much you work for it. Likewise power isn’t necessarily wrong to have, as long as we acknowledge Who it comes from. But if power corrupts, the illusion of absolute power that some rulers might have over their people corrupts absolutely.
Sex within heterosexual, monogamous marriage is a good gift of God. But even within that context it can be idolised to the neglect of prayer and worship of God. Anything that usurps our affection and allegiance which should be God’s is an idol.
John Calvin famously said that our hearts are idol making factories. We need the Holy Spirit to breeze through our hearts and smash all our idols. When we allow Him to do that, we need to remain vigilant that new idols don’t replace the ones we’ve destroyed.
“Lord, idols are everywhere. Please help us to avoid idolatry, as we seek to navigate lives of faithfulness to You. For the honour of Your name, amen”