Idol Factories


We were made to worship and we all worship something. 

What is on the throne of your life? What drives you at your core? To what have you given your life's pursuit? 

We all have things that occupy our mind's and heart's devotion, and when these things become ultimate, usurping the place of God, they become idols. 

John Calvin has famously said, "our hearts are perpetual idol factories." He was absolutely right. Our hearts fly like a moth to the flame of money, sex, success, relationships, achievement, power, popularity, and self. It is no wonder that Proverbs states, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" (Proverbs 4:23). We often realize that these idols are a problem, but often our strategy for tearing them down is ineffective. This is because idols cannot be destroyed, they can only be replaced. 

Idols cannot be destroyed, they can only be replaced. 

We were made to worship God. This is the reason we were made. Because of the cultural emphasis on self (self-expression, individualism, personal autonomy, etc.) even this simple statement can be offensive. "Shouldn't I exist for myself?" Certainly not. You were made for far more than yourself; you were made for God! And this is actually for your good! John Piper has said rightly, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." This means that "we are made for God" should be understood as not just being made to give worship UNTO God but to also ultimately delight IN God. This is why the Psalmist writes, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11). 

It is no surprise that the first command given to the people of Israel in the Law, was "You shall have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3). 

You shall have no other gods before me ~Exodus 20:3

The solution to our idolatry is the worship of God. Only God can supplant the idols of our lives in our hearts. Is God on the throne of your heart? Is He the only one highly exalted as your primary aim, ambition, and desire? 

Identifying Your Idols

How do we identify the idols we need to destroy in our lives? There are certainly many answers to this, but I think looking at three areas of our lives can be helpful.

  1. Where you do spend your time?
  2. What occupies your attention?
  3. What is the source of your most intense emotions?


Where do you spend the majority of your time? What do you look forward to doing in your free time? If you had a day to yourself, how would you spend it? William Temple once said "religion is what you do with your solitude." 
"Religion is what you do with your solitude." - William Temple

If someone tracked your day and especially your free time outside of school, work, and mandatory things (bathroom, eating, keeping your kids alive, etc.) what would they discover? How we spend our time can reveal what we worship.   


What do you daydream about? What gets your heart rate up? What do you most look forward to? Our thoughts reveal our affections. 

What do you struggle to ignore? What captures your imagination?

The mark of someone who has been "raised with Christ" is that he or she "sets [their] minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth" (Colossians 3:2). We can't stop thinking about what we worship. Does God, the cross of Jesus Christ, and the hope of glory occupy our thinking? 


What elicits your strongest emotions? When do you feel most angry? What makes or breaks your day? What gives you great joy or sends you spiraling into anxiety or sadness? Our emotions are pathways to our hearts. 

If you have an unexpected bill to pay does it infuriate you? If your social media post does not get much traction are you sad? Do you get upset if your food is not prepared exactly as you like? Our emotions are powerful indicators of what our idols are in our lives? 

The Bottom-line 

God deserves our worship. Only He is worthy of our worship. Worship of anything else in our lives is idolatry. The sad reality is that our hearts are idol factories and we must by the power of the Spirit be daily putting to death the idolatry that lies within. Let us worship the Lord, and worship Him alone! 

And Jesus answered him, “It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve’” (Luke 4:8). 

In Christ,


Book Recommendation 

Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy Keller


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