“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron.4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” Exodus 32:1-6
This is a topic I hold dear to my heart because it has been something I have time and time again struggled but also have felt God’s amazing patience and grace. In the Old Testament they falsely worshiped a gold calf. When I was younger I told myself “I don’t worship objects therefore I don’t struggle with idolatry”. Oh was I mistaken and God has repetitively pointed the simple fact that I like to find idols everywhere. So if an idol is not only a gold calf, what is it?
There is are many definitions and examples of idolatry but the definition that has resonated in me is anything I put my hope in other than God. Many people struggle with idolizing things like a nicer house, a larger savings account or even family. I do not wrestle with these material things but I have a tendency to idolize hard work, dreams, and safety/security. So an idol is something that when you search your heart of hearts you want more than you want God and his will for this world. My desire for things in this world in itself is not idolatry but worship/action toward obtain these things outside of Gods will is.
When I was young I idolized gymnastics and the dream of college gymnastics. God worked in my heart to turn that idol into worship and ministry. Then I struggled with idolizing the dream of a husband and God showed me how to give him that desire and date him instead. Then I struggled with idolizing healing of my illness and God said my grace is enough for you here is some medicine to make it more manageable but I want you to use your illness to minister to others. Oh there have been a many more idols along the years but these are some of the big ones in my ocean of idolatry.
We all have idols but we often are not aware of them. They keep us from seeing the truth and experiencing more of God. So for those who think I do not have any idols, I pray you will stop and seek God because it is most like there, just hidden. And for those who are aware of their idols, I encourage you to lay the idol down, cut it out, run from it but also remember God loves you and has an infinite amount of grace for you when you fail. It does not matter how many times you fail because God is not counting, just keep going to him and he will free you.