Keep Yourself from Idols and Keep God on the Throne of Your Heart

devotees bid adieu to Ganesh at the end of the festival

The sound of the drums was overwhelming as I pulled up to the street next to my apartment. My neighbors and many others were gathered on the street to celebrate the end of the Ganesh (guh-NAYSH) festival.

The festival had been happening for almost 2 weeks, and idols of the elephant-headed god had been displayed all over the city. This night was the biggest celebration of them all.

I joined my neighbors on the street, and together we watched the Ganesh idol be paraded to a nearby lake to be submerged into the water and return home.

The sound of the drums grew louder as the idol approached, and people were dancing and chanting around it shouting, “Ganesh, you’re our superstar!”

It was heartbreaking seeing my neighbors worship a god that cannot hear or see their praises.

Physical idols like Ganesh are easy to identify. They’re hard to ignore because it’s idolatry you can see when parades are held in their honor or people bow down to them.

How, then, do we identify idols of the heart—the things that creep into the far corners of our minds and souls that aren’t easy to see, the things that gradually cause us to move God off the throne of our hearts and put them there?

Above all, go to the truth of Scripture and see what it says about the idols you struggle with. It’s equally important to pray God would reveal idols of your heart as you give them control and when you see them, repent and give that control back to God.

Identifying Your Idols

When determining what things could be idols in your life, ask these questions:

  • Do I spend more time doing or thinking about it than spending time with God?
  • Do I let it control or influence my choices more than God’s will?
  • Do I spend more time talking about it than sharing my faith with others?
  • Has it affected or changed my relationships with others in a negative way?

This is not an all-encompassing list, but a starting point. Allow it to guide your prayers as you seek to identify idols—things that can be both good and bad in your life. Remember anything you worship more than God is an idol. When you seek to identify idols, it allows you to give your worship back to the One who deserves it the most.

Emily Todd* is a former cross-cultural worker who served among university students in South Asia. Currently, she lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and works as an administrative assistant.

*Name changed.


Back to Top