What are our idols?

In the Book of Exodus, we read the chronicles of the Jewish people after God appointed Moses to rescue them from Egypt.  We read conversations Moses had directly with God to hear God’s wishes and expectations for the Jewish people.  Let’s not forget that the Jewish people were in bondage and slavery of the Egyptians because they had sinned against God in previous generations.  The Jewish people were sinful and turned their backs on God, so He punished them for generations through their captivity and enslavement in Egypt, of which He rescued them when He appointed Moses as their leader.

We learn in Exodus 32 that while Moses was on Mount Sinai for forty days, receiving unbelievably specific directions and expectations regarding how the Lord wanted the Jewish people to worship Him, the Jews influenced Moses’ brother Aaron to build a golden calf to worship.  Even amid their rescue and “exodus” from the Egyptians, they had quickly lost sight of the God that saved them, in just a matter of days.  The Jews yearned for something to worship, but unfortunately, they had already strayed from God’s wishes to worship Him and instead created a false idol in a golden calf.

How do we stray from God and devote time, money, and effort to our own “idols?”  Idols come in many forms and are not necessarily a physical object like a golden calf described in Exodus 32. Our idols can be our occupation, our hobbies (golf, hunting, exercise and fitness, etc.), alcohol, drugs, or simply spending time doing something that pulls our hearts and minds away from God.

Since you are reading this journal a day after the Super Bowl, I thought a football reference would be appropriate.  I use this example not to judge or mock Tom Brady.  I wish nothing but the best for him as a father and a man. I point out this quote that appeared in US Magazine in April 2022.  As you may know, Tom Brady announced his retirement in February 2022, and six weeks later announced his un-retirement. Here is what Tom Brady was quoted as saying in the article.

“I know I’m not as good a dad to my kids that my dad’s been to me. I think maybe what I’d wish for my children is to find something that they really love to do like I have, but I think I have taken it to an extreme too. You know, I hope they don’t take things as far as I’ve taken them. I want them to experience great success in whatever they do, but there’s a torment about me that I don’t wish upon them.

Wow.  A “torment about me that I don’t wish upon them.”  Arguably the most decorated professional football player of all time, who is an actor, has accumulated great notoriety and wealth, and is “tormented.”

I don’t know if Tom Brady is a man of faith, but his statement is incredibly honest and endearing.  Even with what looked like the perfect life of wealth and professional success, he has endured torment that derives from his drive for competition and achievement.

In our own lives, with our own examples, we can point to “idols” or afflictions that pull us away from worshipping God.  I encourage us to recognize our “idols” and pay attention to the manner in which they pull us away from our faith and our family.  I am guilty of taking our kids to Sunday morning sports rather than attend church, playing golf on Sunday morning, being too focused on my profession, or spending time on things that pull my heart away from Christ.  Guilty as charged.

A brother in Christ recently reminded me of a verse in Mark 9:24, where a father was begging Jesus to heal his son who was afflicted by a condition in which he had violent seizures, and the father exclaimed, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”

The great news is that God has been patient, loving, and merciful to us for thousands upon thousands of generations.  God created you and I and He knows your heart, He knows your afflictions, and He knows of your struggles.

Exodus 33:6-7 reads “…the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers, upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.”

Today, without hesitation, I encourage you to pray to God and acknowledge your “idols,” and recognize the need for change.  He already knows what they are.  He is just waiting for you to acknowledge them and take action to address them.

Published by

Chad Bandy

I am a Jesus follower, husband, and father. I am a work in progress who tries to be better each and every day, with the help of Christ.