I would like to suggest a few additional ways to discern if there are idols in your life–or things that are becoming idols. Here are a few questions you might find helpful to ask yourself. Then take what you discover to the Lord in prayer.
One good way to discover an idol hidden in the corner of your heart is to observe where your thoughts go by default…when you are driving in the car, standing in the shower, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, or waiting in the checkout or carpool line. What consumes or preoccupies much of your thinking? What “goal” or “dream” or “outcome” is always in the back of your mind? I know women and men who focus on their spouse, or their own spiritual condition, or on their own most recent offense. When anything consumes too much of your thinking it is out of place and taking the place of the Lord. Even if it seems to be “spiritual.”
You may also ask yourself…is there anything that you “need” to have during the day such as food, wine, beer, T.V., shopping, etc.? For example, what would you do if you were asked to not shop at all for a year, or to eat only half-portions of food, or to eat only twice a day with no snacking or desserts, or to not drink any alcohol, or to not watch any T.V., or… ?
Additional questions include… Is there a certain person’s approval you are seeking? Is there a group you want to be a part of and accepted by…no matter the cost? How important to you are the ways you do things? For example, how clean does your car or house or office have to be? Who or what do you seek to control, fix, or make better? Perhaps you have your own questions to ask.
Bring all of the things that have come up before the Lord. Make a list if necessary. Ask Him what you need to lay down and leave behind so that you can pick up your cross and follow Jesus in fully devoted discipleship. Trust in Him and in His grace to help you do the impossible.
Lord Jesus, I want to find all of my hope and satisfaction in you. Please show me where I am turning to earthly things for comfort instead of turning to you. Help me see what I cannot see. Help me love you and enjoy you above all things.
In Jesus’ name I pray,