Lately, I have been increasingly concerned that one of the biggest problems we are facing as a people is idolatry. It seems that idols are everywhere; We have even seen them in our own home and had to remove them. It was thanks to some quotes I found on the subject that we realized our error. Might you also have idols in your home or in your heart without knowing it?
Definition of an Idol
First of all, what really is an idol? Is it a statue you bow and pray to? No, it is more broad than that. Let’s see how Sister White defines idols:
An idol is anything that human beings love and trust in instead of loving and trusting in the Lord their Maker. Whatever earthly thing men desire and trust in as having power to help them and do them good, leads them away from God and is to them an idol. Whatever divides the affections, or takes away from the soul the supreme love of God, or interposes to prevent unlimited confidence and entire trust in God, assumes the character and takes the form of an idol in the soul temple.
— Manuscript 50, 1886
Where Do We Find Idols?
Idolatry is not objects themselves, but it is where our love and trust are, and that happens inside of us. It is not external, though some externals may be idols, if we are depending on them rather than on God.
For example, house decorations… If they have no practical purpose, then we are depending on them instead of the simple, quiet Spirit of God working in our lives to make us warm and sweet; that is what makes a happy home and attracts people. That is what attracted me to Seventh-day Adventism, not the doctrines. Also, natural things like flowers and house plants can be used in place of artificial decor; these things have practical purpose in pointing people to the Creator as they are nature, and not only that they provide clean air for the house. Also, we are told to hang up Scriptures all around the house, especially from the Law; anything else would detract from the simplicity of these Scriptures.
So, some externals automatically mean idolatry, but other externals like music are not automatically idols. For example, music—and I mean, wholesome music—even in that there can be pride in the music artists if they are thinking of themselves and not God, giving all glory to Him and not accepting applause. However, if music starts to get very fancy in the voice or the instrument, then the external reveals the internal and those who hear it should kindly correct the musicians.
Are There Idols in Your Life?
In our evangelism, are we depending on God or in the works of man to reach souls? How is it in our homes – Is it God being glorified or is it man? How is it in your heart, beloved?
Only we as individuals can do that work of heart-searching through the convictions of the Holy Spirit; no one can do that for us. But I suspect that there is idolatry in many, if not all, of our hearts, in some way or another, which is why I’m bringing this subject up. We need to analyze our situation and discover what is keeping us from having any great revival. We know sin will do it, but the candle must now begin to shine in unsuspected places for any leaven of sin that may be in our hearts.
God Reads the Heart
God is now testing and proving His people. Character is being developed. Angels are weighing moral worth, and keeping a faithful record of all the acts of the children of men. Among God’s professed people are corrupt hearts; but they will be tested and proved. That God who reads the hearts of everyone, will bring to light hidden things of darkness where they are often least suspected, that stumbling blocks which have hindered the progress of truth may be removed, and God have a clean and holy people to declare His statutes and judgments.
— 1 Testimonies, p. 332
If you have discovered idols in your heart, my brother, my sister, fear not. Lean upon the Everlasting Arms. Our Father will uphold you and teach you how to depend upon Him more. This is just another way that He is strengthening our faith for the trials ahead, when He will be the only source of strength we have!