8 Signs that You May be an Idolater

The Apostle John was quite clear when he wrote to his readers, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” In fact, he ended his first letter with these words (1 John 5:21).

Around the world are people who literally worship idols they’ve made with their own hands. For others of us, our idolatry is a bit more subtle but no less wrong. It’s possible that you are an idolater if . . .    

  1. You refuse to give up a sin. If you know it’s a sin, and you choose to hang on to it, you’ve made it your god. You’ve chosen it over God. That’s idolatry.
  2. You hold on to a grudge. If you don’t forgive those who hurt you, the Father doesn’t forgive you (Matt. 6:14-15). To hold on to a grudge and refuse to forgive is to make an idol out of our anger.
  3. You choose not to get over your pain. Sadly, other people wound us. Idolatry happens, though, if you continually remind people of your pain and choose not to move beyond it; it’s a sinful way of drawing attention to yourself.
  4. You don’t pray much, or you pray only when you must. I’ve written before about this issue of believers not praying. Prayerlessness is, simply stated, idolatry of the self.
  5. You’re living to get the next “thing” on your list. That next thing might be a possession, a position, some power, or even a person. If your striving for that “thing” takes priority over your personal walk with God, that thing may well be an idol.
  6. Your position in your church is more important than your walk with God. Some church members fight to protect their position in the church, but they simply do not walk with God in their personal life. If that’s you, power may have become your God. 
  7. Your happiness is dependent on someone other than God. God created us to be in relationships (Gen. 2:18), but no relationship should take precedence over Him. If your happiness is based on how a certain person relates to you, you may have allowed that person to become an idol.
  8. You need know everything about anything and everybody in your church.  Some people feel powerful when they’re “in the know,” and they’re quickly offended when they’re not. I call them “information idolaters.”

What other signs of idolatry come to mind for you? 


  • Dale Beighle says:

    When sports, entertainment and recreation are more important than church.
    People today use Sunday to take their kids to their sports games, to take their kids to theme parks, or to take their kids fishing or to some other form of recreation or entertainment. When they do so they are not only failing to keep Sunday Holy and worship God, but they are also teaching their kids to do so as well, and teaching their kids that those things are more important than worshiping God.

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