Idols and Relationships

The end of March is almost upon us and we’re just about finished with our theme for this month, Idols of the Heart. My hope is that, with each article, we have encouraged you to search your heart and examine the various areas in your life in which you may be holding on to idols. Before we start onto a new topic next month though, there is one more thing I’d like us to look at. Relationships. I’m gonna have, to be honest with you, out of everything we’ve talked on so far, this is the hardest for me. If you and I were to sit down across a table from one another, and you asked me, “So is God really the most important person in your life?”, it would be difficult for me to say yes with 100% confidence. Why is this? It’s so easy for relationships, even healthy and godly ones, to slowly creep above God in my list of priorities.

In her article earlier this month, AJ touched on how even though friendships are good in themselves, they can quickly become idols if we’re not careful. But when exactly does a relationship become an idol? Is it only when a friendship becomes more important to us than God? Are we good as long as Christ is just a little bit higher on the ladder than the next most important person to us? Let’s see what God’s Word has to say.

“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sister—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26 NLT)

Jesus has set the bar a bit higher than placing him just slightly higher than the rest. No, he wants us to love him so much that in comparison, we hate everyone else. So let’s look back up at those questions we asked just a minute ago. When does a relationship become an idol? It becomes an idol when it is placed in even the same airspace that our relationship with God is in. But I mean… Does Christ really expect that of us? Is it even possible? Look at the second part of the verse. “Otherwise you cannot be my disciple,” Christ tells us that if we’re not willing to place him first, we cannot follow him. He’s not willing to compete for the highest priority in our lives. He’s demanding it.

So now that we’ve seen what God expects, no wait, demands from us, let’s try to identify some of the relationships in our lives that might already have or might be becoming idols in our lives. What are some indications that Christ isn’t our highest priority? Well, let’s first look at how we spend our time. When the time to do your devotions runs around, who is it that you’d rather spend time talking to? I sometimes find myself pushing my Quiet Time farther and farther back into the schedule of my day until it’s at 11:30 at night. I’ve already said my goodnights to all my friends and now it’s God’s time. Have you identified the problem yet? I don’t give God my attention until I’m finished giving it to everyone else. Giving it to the people that HE has blessed me with. Or let’s look at another example. When disaster strikes you, who is it that you run to first? For me, once again I often find myself going to my friends instead of taking the time to pray and ask God to help me through it all, to give me wisdom in dealing with it, as well as comfort. Let’s look at one more indication of whether it’s God or other relationships that are more important to us. Who consumes the majority of your thoughts? I’m pretty sure most of us aren’t able to answer “Him” with a clear conscience.

Hopefully, by this point, you’ve identified the relationships that have become idols in your life. It’s time to drag out and shoot the relationships in our lives that have become more important to us than God. To place them where they belong and to move forward in our relationship with our amazing creator.

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