“… You were controlled by dead idols, who always led you astray.” 1 Cor. 12:2
Not only do idols steal our happiness, they also strangle our freedom. They start to control you. They always do. There is another word that we use for idol in our society today. It’s the word addiction. There are a lot of things you can be addicted to rather than just alcohol and drugs. You can be addicted to work. You can be addicted to sex. You can be addicted to sports. There are a lot of things you can get addicted to today. Idols always control us because whenever you love something more than God, it begins to control you and eventually destroys you.
Whenever I love something more than God, I’m always led astray. I get off the path. I make wrong decisions. How many people, by trying to find success, have been led astray and neglect their family, a crucial time in their kid’s lives? How many people, for the chance of fame and fortune, have been led to compromise on their integrity? Idols always lead you astray. They always make you lose your path in life and lose your way. Look at Psalm 115:8. “Those who make them (idols) will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” You will start to become like whatever you put your trust in. You will start to become like whatever is first place in your life. You will gravitate towards your god in life. God created in you the capacity to worship. You were made to worship, so if you don’t worship God, you are going to worship something. You are going to try to fill that void. God placed that desire in your life, and you’ll be controlled by the idols, and you’ll become like the idols.
A rich, young ruler came to Jesus one day, and he said, “Lord, what do I need to do to have eternal life?” And Jesus said, “Sell everything you have and give it to the poor.” Now, it is interesting that not one other time in scripture did Jesus tell anyone else to ever do that. Now, he said that we should tithe and give back the first 10% of all we make to show that God has first place in our heart, but not to anyone else did He say give it all away. Now, why did He tell that to this rich, young man? Because Jesus knew what the young man’s idol was. It was his bank account. Jesus knew that if he didn’t give up this idol, that Christ would never be first place in his life. He knew that if he didn’t give up his money, then Christ could never be first place, and he would always be miserable. He would never understand what fulfillment was all about. The young man considered what Christ asked him to do, and he said it’s not worth it, and he walked away sadly, the scripture says. Why? Because the idol controlled him and idols begin to control us. If God asks you to give up something, and you can’t do it, you don’t own it anymore, it owns you. It controls you. You’re not controlling it anymore, because idols steal our happiness, and idols strangle our freedom. But, when we put God first in our lives, He sets us free.