12 Idols We Might Wrongly Follow

Not every idol is a man-made figurine sitting on a shelf among other “gods.” Instead, any of these actions, ideas, and goals listed below might be evidence of idolatry in your life.

  1. Bitterness. As long as we hang on to bitter feelings toward someone else, we’ve made bitterness an idol.
  2. Fame. We should recognize this idol any time we do whatever it takes to get our name in the limelight—including cloaking the recognition of our efforts in “prayers of praise.”
  3. Unforgiveness. This one’s connected, of course, to bitterness (#1 above). When we refuse to forgive someone, we allow that idol to hinder our own walk with God.
  4. Relationships. It’s a fine line between loving someone with God’s love and loving that person above God. Some of us cling to people even when the relationship is unhealthy and ungodly.
  5. Position. This idol becomes apparent when we buck against any thoughts of raising up someone else to take our place. Usually, we equate this position with power—and that power’s attractive to us.
  6. Lust. It’s unlikely that I need to explain this one. Men particularly allow lust to control us.
  7. Worry. The power of this idol is strong. We know we need to trust God in all situations, but worry still burdens us in the day and keeps us awake at night. That’s idolatry.
  8. Pain. This one’s an idol that’s surprising to me. As a pastor, I’ve ministered to people who choose never to really let go of whatever pain haunts them; it seems, in fact, they fear they will no longer get attention when/if they’re healed of their pain.
  9. Social media. Make a commitment to avoid social media for a few days, and see how hard it is to stay away from it. If it’s difficult, you’re likely leaning toward idolatry.
  10. Information. “Information idolaters” can’t stand it when they’re not “in the know.” They want the power that comes with having knowledge others may not have.
  11. Control. It’s hard to play “second fiddle” if this inclination toward control is yours. When you fight to make sure you’re in charge, you must at least examine your heart.
  12. Your ministry. Folks who struggle with this idol generally find their esteem in their work, and they’re prone to making sure others know about their work successes.

What other idols come to mind for you? How might we pray for you?


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