Many times when we hear the word “idol” we think about people or tangible things in our lives. Perhaps we’re intentionally or unintentionally “bowing” to the fame, power, or influence of another person. Or, maybe we’ve amassed wealth and fortune like the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:21) and our “stuff” has a grip on our focus and reverence.
I’d like to offer, teammates, that there are some idols in our lives that we can’t see or touch. These idols have nothing to do with people or stuff per se – but everything to do with us, our thoughts, even our identity.
Did you know that we can make idols out of attention or sympathy? Do we compromise the gospel for the sake of the approval of others?
Now, think about this – do we forego healing and deliverance from our issues because we so crave the attention, prayers, or empathy of others?
Our issues can easily become idols, especially issues that we’ve been dealing with for a long period of time. Unaddressed, un-healed issues have a way of trying to weave their themselves into our identity – what we’re known for. “You know Tina, the one who suffers from depression.” “You know John, he needs extra help because of his condition.”
Is What You’re Known for Keeping You From Becoming Greater?
What issue(s) do your family and friends know YOU for?
What infirmity or stronghold has attached itself to your identity?
Instead of being known for God’s healing, redemptive, and restorative power, many in the body of Christ willingly wear the labels of their infirmities – and God wants to change that! Why?
Because at the root of idolatry is insatiable greed for something outside of God (Colossians 3:5).
It’s like a slap in the face of the Almighty, All-powerful God – Jehovah Jireh – who desires to supply us with every good and perfect gift we could ever need (Matthew 7:11, James 1:17).
It’s time to stop submitting to our issues, and submit our healing and deliverance to the hands of a more than capable, loving Father.
The Issue Idols Test
How do you know if you’ve been worshipping your issues, bowing to them upon command? Examine yourselves with the self-test below:
1. You resist any effort or suggestion that the issue IS an issue.
Have your loved ones been trying to tell you that your habit or lifestyle is hurting you? Is it more comfortable to let the idol remain invisible than to do the work of acknowledging and addressing it? Do you often give yourself an excuse or justification for your behavior? This is resistance in the wrong direction, Team! Don’t resist the loving conviction of the Holy Spirit, who’s trying to lead you into Truth. Truth makes us free (John 8:32), the lies we receive and the lies we tell ourselves will only keep us in bondage.
2. Your issues are given consideration for future events that haven’t happened yet.
Do you forego opportunities or the possibility of success because you’re afraid that your issue will show up? Some of our issues are not only idols, but they’re monsters that keep us living in fear, far beneath the privileges of sons and daughters of God. Our God is greater, teammates! Bow no more to the spirit of fear, and reject every thought that exalts your issue above the mighty hand of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).
3. There’s an expectation for people to respect your issue versus offer help.
What sounds better to your spirit – the voice that leads you to break free from your issues, or silent inaction that accepts your issues the way they are? We often protect our issue idols from any suggestions or guidance that will lead to their demise through healing. When we expect those who love us to leave us as they found us, the idolatry of our heart is clearly evident.
4. More meditation time is spent on your issues than meditating on the Word of God or prayer.
We’ve talked about it before – worry is a form of meditation. Do you find yourself worrying about the issues of your heart more than spending time reading the Bible or in prayer about those issues? Are you sowing more time and energy into your issues than to fasting and praying? If yes, then your issues are being magnified above the One who is mighty to save you from their grip (Isaiah 63:1).
5. Your issues have become synonymous with your identity.
As shared above, what could you be if you weren’t known for “X” issue? Are you afraid that your identity has been cemented in the minds of others – so why fight it? God has a very distinct plan and purpose for your life – that does not include you succumbing to the hopeless condition of your issue. Your name is synonymous with victory, and Victory will not share the stage with fear and defeat. It’s time for a new name, teammates!
So, What’s the Play Call?
Allow me to redirect this entire article to say – own no issues!
I know I’ve repeated “your issues” throughout, but the time has come to change your vocabulary! Delete “my” from in front of those things that try to bind you and keep you living in fear and insecurity. You don’t own depression, so stop saying, “my depression”. You don’t own anxiety, so stop saying, “my anxiety”.
Here’s an alternative, say:
– The [depression, sickness, anxiety, issue] that God is healing/delivering me from.
There is always room to speak the language of faith – even before you’re 100% whole.
May God heal and deliver us all from our issues, and I pray we all have the willingness of heart to let those issues go.
Our worship and reverence belong to God, not the issues God is delivering us from.